Hyatt’s disadvantage has long been its smaller footprint. To help remedy this, they’ve sought to form partnerships with other lodging companies. However, they’ve not been having much luck in this department over the past year, as Hyatt loses another partner not long after the stinging loss of their MGM one.
Yup, as you’ll recall, MGM bailed on Hyatt in favor of a long-term management contract with Marriott. Unfortunately, the rollout of that relationship has not been going well, and the benefit to members of each program is awful – at least in its current incarnation. The Hyatt-MGM status matching was far better and helped me maintain my standing with both programs. Alas, with that no longer an option, I will lose status with both, and I’m sure many others are in the same boat.
While the loss of that relationship stung for the Points & Miles community, and I’m sure it wasn’t so great for Hyatt, either, the scope was, admittedly, limited. After all, that partnership focused on casinos, and primarily those in Las Vegas. That’s why Hyatt’s other partnership with Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH) was more crucial. This collection of 560 boutique hotels across 90 countries helped to improve Hyatt’s footprint, especially in Europe, where many SLH hotels (326) are concentrated. But, as you can probably guess, this isn’t going to be the case any longer as Hyatt loses another partner.
Hyatt Loses Another Partner
Yup, when I say Hyatt loses another partner, I mean that SLH is jumping ship. As reported by The Points Guy, SLH is running to the world’s second-largest hotelier – Hilton. Why? Apparently, this change is likely due to Hilton’s desire to focus more on lifestyle and luxury properties – something that’s woefully absent from their current portfolio, especially in comparison to Marriott and Hyatt. For SLH, it means access to a broader customer base.
Like the Hyatt-SLH partnership, it’s assumed that not all SLH hotels will participate in the new Hilton version. However, officials are confident most will, even though they don’t yet know which ones will participate – I guess we’ll just have to wait to see which ones pop up in Hilton’s system.
As far as timelines go, Hilton officials state that they expect to roll out the new relationship in the next several months. Hyatt’s website doesn’t mention what’s going on yet, but the chatter on Reddit indicates that the situation is still developing and that they’ll share more soon.
Hyatt Has a Replacement
Though Hyatt loses another partner in the span of a year, it isn’t a total loss. Two years ago, Hyatt acquired Apple Leisure Group, adding 100 properties, primarily in Mexico and the Caribbean, to its portfolio, while the hotelier acquired booking platform Mr. and Mrs. Smith and its collection of nearly 2,000 boutique hotels, luxury hotels, and luxury villas last year. Unfortunately, Mr. and Mrs. Smith’s coverage isn’t quite as big as SLH’s, but it’s close enough – 80 countries versus 90.
In terms of European coverage, Mr. and Mrs. Smith is superior to SLH, with over 900 participating hotels spread across the continent. That said, Mr. and Mrs. Smith (MMS) has better coverage around the world, too. For example, in North America, SLH has a few dozen properties, while MMS has over 300. In Asia, SLH has under 100 properties, whereas MMS has nearly 300.
For those of you who love to travel to Hawaii, you’ll be happy to know that MMS includes two Big Island properties, including the Rosewood Kona Villag and the Auberge Mauna Lani. Now, whether properties under different flags like the Mauna Lani stay long-term remains to be seen, but I’d say MMS is an upgrade… Though Hyatt snatching it away from IHG makes them losing SLH seem like karma.
Thoughts it’s a bummer that Hyatt loses another partner, I think they’re making out in the end. So long as the vast majority of MMS properties become bookable under Hyatt, it’s a net gain that more than makes up for the loss of SLH. Personally, I’ve got my eye on Post Ranch Inn in MMS, as it’s a property I’ve long aspired to stay at but can in no way afford to pay cash for. I fully assume they’ll end up being a World of Hyatt Category 8 property, but that’s still a win… If I can get a reservation.
At any rate, things are getting interesting as these hotel titans go after luxury and lifestyle travelers. Hyatt (and even Marriott) did fairly well in these segments before, so losing SLH isn’t as big a deal, in my opinion, especially since Hyatt now has MMS. Likewise, SLH will help Hilton, though I think they lag far behind the other two, especially in the lifestyles space.