Hyatt Going Where The Growth Is


With two resort openings in the books in recent weeks, and two more to come in 2015, Playa Hotels & Resorts, whose partnership with Hyatt Hotels has brought that brand to the all-inclusive market, is already looking to the future, reports managing editor, Mike Baginski in this week’s digital edition of Canadian Travel Press.

“Four [new resorts] next year, I think, would be a goal,” says Bruce Wardinski, CEO of Playa Hotels & Resorts, of the fast-growth Hyatt Ziva and Hyatt Zilara brands.

(In an unusual corporate arrangement, Hyatt has taken an minority investment position in Playa – already owner of several resort operating under the Gran and Royalton banners – with Playa acting as management company for new Hyatt-owned resorts that use the better-known Hyatt name.)

On March 20, the sister resorts Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall and Hyatt Zilara, officially opened in Montego Bay, Jamaica, on the site of the former Ritz Carlton. Two weeks earlier, Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta cut the ribbon.

“We want to open as many Hyatt Zivas and Zilaras as quickly as we can,” says Wardinski, though not at the expense of quality, he adds.

Positioned as five-star all-inclusives, the main difference between the two brands is that Zilara is for adults only.

On Aug. 15 the Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos will open essentially as a new hotel after renovations necessitated by Hurricane Odile last year. And the new Hyatt Ziva Cancun will soft launch in October in time for Cancun Travel Mart.

“And we’re hoping to announce other countries soon [possibly in South America],” adds Wardinski. “We’re [also] looking to go to countries we’re already in. Just because we’re in Montego Bay doesn’t mean we won’t be in Ocho Rios, Negril. Or because we’re in Cancun doesn’t mean we won’t be in Riviera Maya. Let me just say, we’re a growth company!”

Wardinski says Playa/Hyatt are riding the all-inclusive trend, which has seen the segment heading decidedly upscale since the days when three-star resorts ruled.

“All-inclusive is the only segment of the international hotel market where the big players aren’t. Hyatt is the first one to play in this field,” says Wardinski. “All of those big companies are going to enter the all-inclusive field. [With Hyatt] we have a good head start.

“The reason we want to grow, grow, grow, is we know the world is a competitive thing and you need to grow.”

Destinations are jumping on the all-inclusive bandwagon too, says Playa executive VP Kevin Froemming.

“In the Caribbean and Mexico, that’s where the growth is… You’re seeing destinations like Aruba, which shied away from all-inclusives; Barbados. They’re saying, ‘Look, this is the way of the future.’”

For the full story, check out this week’s digital edition of Canadian Travel Press by clicking here.