Trade Talk: Marco Groten of Hyatt Hotels Corporation

Hyatt’s Area Vice President for Indonesia tells us how the brand has adapted to current circumstances and highlights its future openings in Southeast Asia’s largest market.

Photo courtesy of Hyatt Hotels Corporation

What is the operational status of Hyatt properties in Indonesia right now?

Hyatt manages 10 hotels and resorts as well as a phinisi in Indonesia under the Grand Hyatt, Hyatt Regency, and Alila brands. All of these are currently open except for Grand Hyatt Bali which we are planning to reopen by the end of this year. At Alila Seminyak in Bali, our restaurant Seasalt and the Beach Bar are currently open only during the weekend and we hope to resume our usual operations from November 1st.

With borders closed to foreign tourists, what marketing strategies has Hyatt adopted to draw in more domestic travelers?

We believe there is a strong pent-up demand for people in Indonesia to get out of their homes and reconnect with their loved ones in a different but safe environment, and expect domestic leisure demand and, in selected hotels, our food and beverage to drive business during this period.

We are listening to our guests and World of Hyatt loyalty members. What we have learned is while cleanliness is key, it is also table stakes. To deliver distinctive and great experiences for our guests, we are reimagining the hotel experience to inspire people while ensuring that guests feel confident, are comfortable, and have peace of mind. The two key pillars are safety and flexibility.

Hotels need to remain places of respite and relaxation, and we want guests to have complete confidence and peace of mind that their stay will be safe and stress-free. The safety and health of our guests and colleagues has been our highest priority since the beginning of the pandemic. As part of Hyatt’s Global Care and Cleanliness Commitment, we have implemented comprehensive and enhanced hygiene and safety measures across all our hotels. These measures as well as any updated guidelines are clearly communicated internally and to future guests through social media, our websites, as well as through our team members when guests are staying with us. This way our guests and customers will continue to feel safe while staying in any Hyatt hotel in Indonesia.

During this uncertain period, we offer extended flexibility for our guests should they need to change or cancel their plans. For instance, most reservations booked for arrival dates through July 31, 2021 can be cancelled at no charge up to 24 hours before the scheduled arrival.

Flexibility also applies in what we are providing to domestic travelers. Our hotels across Indonesia offer a variety of packages catering to a wide range of guests and their needs. For instance: Dog-walking and co-working at Hyatt Regency Yogyakarta, a day pass for the pool at Hyatt Regency Bali, and a “pay now, stay later” offer at Alila Ubud.

Inside a Superior room at Alila Ubud. (Photo: Hyatt Hotels Corporation)

Last month, Hyatt hotels in Bali ran an offer called “Asik Suntastic.” This deal offered guests 50 percent more value when they purchased resort credit on a virtual card, which could be used for rooms, spa treatments, and dining at any of the six Hyatt hotels on the island such as Grand Hyatt Bali, Alila Villas Uluwatu, and Alila Manggis. We saw a very enthusiastic uptake on this offer and many of our guests recognized the great value and flexibility in usage for the future. Many of our repeat guests have already started asking to bring this option back and we are currently looking to relaunch this in the fourth quarter of this year.

Just the other week, we launched our richest ever “Bonus Journeys” global promotion that is open to all World of Hyatt loyalty members enabling them to earn triple points across all Hyatt locations worldwide from October 1, 2020 through January 4, 2021. This complements a series of valuable World of Hyatt rewards that we rolled out in recent months such as earning triple points on local dining (applicable for dine-in, takeout and delivery), free nights on sale and free parking.

Furthermore, we continuously monitor this constantly evolving situation so as to adjust our offerings to meet the needs of domestic guests as well as to target new customer segments. We remain nimble and agile, keeping our eyes and ears open to news and data while also listening to our guests’ feedback, especially from our World of Hyatt members. By being flexible in our strategy, we can grab opportunities when they arise.

The lagoon-style main pool at Grand Hyatt Bali. (Photo: Hyatt Hotels Corporation)

Some brands are capitalizing on work-from-home arrangements to launch weekday staycation deals and rent out guest rooms as office space. Is Hyatt doing the same for its properties in Indonesia?

The work-from-home arrangement is available at Alila Solo and Hyatt Regency Yogyakarta. Hyatt Regency Yogyakarta took it one step further by launching a co-working space at the Residence, the hotel’s dedicated meeting facilities which we opened not too long ago. Guests can rent their private space, jog at our two-kilometer track, and enjoy complimentary billiards, darts, golf, and free-flow snacks if they wish to take a break from work.

Ultraviolet disinfection being carried out at a Hyatt spa. (Photo: Hyatt Hotels Corporation)

You’re also the General Manager of Grand Hyatt Bali. What health and safety protocols can we expect when it comes to dining and spa experiences on site?

Introduced earlier this year, Hyatt’s Global Care and Cleanliness Commitment examines the entire hotel experience—from health and hygiene to food and beverage safety to technology and even how spaces are designed and used. Across all Hyatt hotels, we have implemented comprehensive and enhanced hygiene and safety measures. Beside the standard practice of doing temperature checks for everyone, hand and surface sanitizing, using masks and PPE for team members, there are additional measurements that Hyatt hotels have implemented in all its hotels, such as a mandatory hand wash and glove change for all kitchen staff every 30 minutes, requiring the spa therapist to wash hands in front of the guest before the treatment begins, and a more flexible housekeeping service.

Hyatt is the first hotel company to introduce GBAC STAR™ cleanliness and training accreditation, a performance-based cleaning, disinfection, and infectious disease prevention program. Developed by the Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC), a council designed specifically to deal with pandemics, this accreditation focuses on establishing hotel environments that are sanitary, safe, and healthy. All Hyatt hotels will go through the accreditation process before the end of 2020. I am proud to share that Grand Hyatt Bali received the GBAC STAR™ certification recently, making it the first Hyatt in Indonesia to have passed this rigorous process! Of course, we are following all the guidelines from the government of Indonesia too.

While we’re speaking about health and safety protocols, it is also worth noting that a vast majority of Hyatt hotels in Asia Pacific employ Hygiene Managers, who saw their role being elevated into “Hygiene & Wellbeing Leaders” in the past few months. Their responsibilities shifted from being focused on food and beverage to ensuring that their hotels adhere to new operational guidance and protocols, acting as a gatekeeper when it comes to hygiene, health, and safety.

A one-bedroom pool villa at Alila Villas Uluwatu in southern Bali. (Photo: Hyatt Hotels Corporation)

In August, Indonesia had a three- and four-day weekend within days of each other. How was demand for Hyatt and Alila hotel rooms in Bali during that period?

The long weekends in August showed great improvements in business for our hotels in Java in particular. We have seen an increase of bookings in our hotels in Bali and it’s a promising sign of recovery, however we also understand that it will take time for the business to return.

Given Indonesia’s current circumstances, MICE may not be happening for some time. What kinds of travelers do you think will lead the recovery of the hospitality sector?

Contrary to what most people believe, our hotels are continuing to receive MICE bookings. While we have experienced some postponements, we also received enquiries and have secured some new groups during this pandemic. For sure, domestic leisure demand and food and beverage will drive business in the earlier stages of recovery. Group and business travelers will return more slowly as the world is still trying to understand how to best come together in large groups.

On the grounds at Hyatt Regency Yogyakarta. (Photo: Hyatt Hotels Corporation)

Park Hyatt Jakarta is slated to open in the first quarter of 2021. Can you tell us a little about the rooms, restaurants, and other facilities?

Park Hyatt Jakarta will be the first Park Hyatt hotel in Indonesia when it opens in 2021, introducing a new level of luxury hospitality. Located in the leafy residential neighborhood of Menteng, the property will offer travelers an oasis of calm during their stay or visit.

Guests can expect luxurious and spacious rooms, expansive views of the Jakarta skyline, and the highly intuitive service that the brand is known for. What makes the hotel particularly special are its culinary experiences and event spaces. Park Hyatt Jakarta will have a great selection of unique offerings with stunning views over Monas [the National Monument] and Menteng. For example, the Japanese restaurant KITA will offer Japanese tea, beer, sake, and whisky to complement its contemporary Japanese food.

A Park King room at the soon-to-open Park Hyatt Jakarta. (Photo: Hyatt Hotels Corporation)

What other Hyatt projects are in the pipeline for Indonesia? Are there new management contracts and developments our readers should know about?

We are excited to introduce two new luxury brands into Indonesia next year with the opening of Park Hyatt Jakarta and Andaz Bali. Located in Sanur, which is known for its old-world charm, beaches, and spectacular sunrises, Andaz Bali will offer immersive experiences steeped in the local culture with a contemporary twist. Park Hyatt Jakarta and Andaz Bali will strengthen our portfolio of resorts and urban hotels in Indonesia, bringing new and distinct guest experiences that will cater to different travel needs and interests.

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