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Hyatt targets European expansion

27 Sep 2010 by BusinessTraveller

Hyatt Hotels & Resorts is focusing strongly on growth in Europe according to Chief Operating Officer – International, Rakesh Sarna.

Responsible for management of all Hyatt’s full service hotels outside of the US, Canada and the Caribbean as well as the management of Park Hyatt and Andaz hotels on a global basis, Sarna says that Hyatt “…needs to provide hotels for our customer base. You can’t be a preferred hotel company if you go to a city and you’re not there….

The majority of Hyatt’s properties are in the US, and although it has expanded strongly in Asia, in Europe it is under represented, with only 36 properties in Europe, Middle East and Africa (figures from the end of 2009). Sarna says that Hyatt is focused on remedying the situation, with one such property being the Hyatt Regency Dusseldorf (pictured), due to open next year.

“The company has made a very clear commitment that we will employ all our resources including the balance sheet to grow in Europe. We feel Europe is crucial to creating outbound traffic throughout the world.”

When asked if this meant Hyatt developing properties rather than just managing Sarna said that he was not ruling out any option. “Buying is an option, participating with equity is an option. There’s a number of ways of doing it and we’ll use every trick in the bag.”

One trick Hyatt won’t be trying however is that of Marriott, which announced earlier this year it intention to double the number of its properties in the next five years, principally through its Autograph Collection (see online news March 16). Sarna said there were no plans for Hyatt to employ a similar method.

“We all learned the hard way never to say never, but for now I think it’s very critical for us that if we are to drive preference, which is our goal, we must remain loyal to our brands and the attributes of our brands, and not start “selling” [the benefits of] our reservations system.”

Instead Sarna pointed to the success of the Andaz brand, which now has five hotels open, the first of which was at London’s Liverpool Street (for a review click here), as well as the select service brand Hyatt Place, though he said there was no masterplan of which Hyatt brand would be used to expand in Europe.

“We have not sat down and said we must have a Hyatt Regency in a city before we can have a Hyatt Place. There are few given ones, we must have a Park Hyatt in London, New York, Rome and Los Angeles, for instance, but those are strategic developments that improve awareness of the brand.”

For the full interview with Rakesh Sarna, visit our sister site abtn.co.uk.

Visit hyatt.com.

Tom Otley

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