Hyatt’s newest brand is seeking Instagram-pretty and Snapchat-worthy hotels.
Instagramming, Snapchatting, and Facebooking a hotel stay is practically a must-do for today’s social media–savvy travelers, whether it's because of a killer view or just the unspoken desire to brag about being on #vacation. So it was only a matter of time before a major hotel brand began to think about construction with social media at front of mind. The Unbound Collection from Hyatt Hotels, which launched this week, is a carefully curated group of independent hotels—each with its own identity, history, and design, all of which can easily be shown off on social media...or so Hyatt hopes.
"Your travel is a shareable nugget," Maryam Banikarim, chief marketing officer of Hyatt Hotels, told Condé Nast Traveler. "And we want our properties to have something you want to share, not just pictures of the room, but the experiences you have there too.”
Currently, Unbound has four hotels in its collection—The Driskill in Austin; the Hotel du Louvre in Paris; the Carmelo Resort & Spa in Montevideo, Uruguay; and the Coco Palms Resort in Kauai, Hawaii (which is undergoing a renovation and will reopen in 2018). All Unbound hotels will be upper-upscale and luxury properties, meaning four- to five-star hotels with full service (like late-night room service). The hotel will also be a mix of historic gems, cool contemporary spots, and new builds.
While Unbound is indeed looking for hotels with "rich social currency," Banikarim reports that Hyatt won’t be obsessively tracking a hotel’s number of followers or likes during the inclusion process, especially since Unbound’s future pipeline includes hotels that haven’t been built yet. "What we’re really looking for are hotels that are story-worthy," she said, and that goes beyond the amenities in the guest room. A shareable story about The Driskill, Banikarim said, could involve the ghost that's been known to roam the property turning on and off the lights. At the Hotel Du Louvre, its story will be centered around its history as one of the oldest hotels in Paris, while the Carmelo Resort is in the middle of an eucalyptus forest, putting guests up close to nature.
Because the Unbound Collection is what’s referred to in the hotel industry as a "soft" brand, the hotels will keep their own names and identities, and Hyatt branding is kept to a minimum. Guests may only learn an Unbound property is a Hyatt at check-in, when they see that their stay can earn full points for the Hyatt Gold Passport loyalty program. There is some concern that Hyatt’s presence in an highly individualistic hotel like The Driskill may forever change the appeal of the hotel, but Banikarim insists that hotels will have the freedom to do things the way they’ve always done them, with Hyatt helping out behind the scenes.
Unlike other hotel collections out there—Tribute Portfolio from Starwood Hotels and Resorts, the Curio Collection from Hilton Worldwide, and the Autograph Collection from Marriott International—Unbound plans to include travel experiences outside of hotels, possibly river cruises and other types of adventures. "More and more people value experiences, rather than possessions," Banikarim said. "And people want different kinds of experiences." So get ready to share your experiences on social media.