Hyatt.com Checks in With Increased Bookings

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Hyatt Hotels Corp. has seen a 5 percent to 10 percent rise in booked reservations each month since the chain relaunched hyatt.com in March.


While Hyatt did not have user profiles in the previous version of the site, the Chicago company is finding that registered users are 20 percent more likely to complete the reservation process online than non-registered users. Special Internet-only rates also have played a critical role.


"We think this will increase as users continue to get familiar with the site," said Tony Pecucci, director of electronic distribution and marketing at Hyatt. "This and our expansion on Hyatt property content are adding up to increases in booked reservations."


Pecucci would not disclose the number of reservations booked on hyatt.com since the site's revamp.


Built by interactive agency Critical Mass, Calgary, Alberta, on Art Technology Group Inc.'s Dynamo platform, the new hyatt.com is a consolidated portal of all Hyatt domestic properties.


In moving to the Dynamo platform, Hyatt now can personalize messages and content to users based on their interests.


This lets the chain speak to its Gold Passport loyalty program members based on their level of membership. Members enter their Gold Passport number and PIN, allowing them to see their level of membership -- gold, diamond or platinum. This marketing option was unavailable in the past.


"Users continue to be very deal-oriented," Pecucci said. "I also notice an overall increase in user sessions page views for specific properties, which ties to users spending much more time researching all about a property before reserving."


Hyatt would not disclose unique visitor numbers.


The chain aims to find efficiencies in its reservations system. It also wants to trim call center costs. So, besides booking, the site in its current iteration offers a quick process for customers looking to modify or cancel existing reservations online.


"We're also looking at our user communication -- error messages, questions -- to continually improve a user's experience," Pecucci said. "As users continue to use this functionality online, we cut back on operational costs."


Critical Mass' content-entry tool lets Hyatt's disparate hotel properties nationwide manage and modify their own subsites. Such content and imagery has to conform to Hyatt's overall branding guidelines.


Hyatt has 205 hotels and resorts worldwide, 123 of them managed, franchised or operated by the company or affiliates in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean.


As many hotel chains like Hyatt, Starwood and Marriott are discovering, the Internet arguably is the most cost-efficient channel for customers making reservations.


"The goal is to increase online revenue through this channel so that it gives us a stated percentage of overall Hyatt revenue," Pecucci said. "So we're trying to drive as much traffic as possible to hyatt.com.


"Even if users go to other places on the Internet, Hyatt pays a fee to other Web sites for reservations, so that makes our site the most operationally efficient way of booking reservations. So we'd rather have users book reservations through hyatt.com because it's most cost-effective for us instead of going to other travel sites."


To this end, Hyatt has not stopped at just a pumped-up site. A new program this month called Hyatt Palooza consolidates all company offers under one concept. This includes Internet-only and senior rates. Print and online ads as well as public relations will drive traffic to hyattpalooza.com. That site is also the special offers home page for hyatt.com.


But Pecucci said that tighter integration of hyatt.com with the chain's Gold Passport loyalty program is planned. The company also will leverage its user information to offer more relevant e-mail communications and enhance site experience.


"We're also in the process of finalizing other online media deals to drive traffic to the site," Pecucci said declining to offer more detail.


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