CONFIRMED: Hyatt Members Need To Book Direct To Get Free Breakfast At Hyatt Place

I wrote yesterday about changes coming to the Hyatt Place brand, including early check-in, breakfast and fitness center changes.  At the time, there were a few points that were unclear.  Who gets free breakfast going forward was definitely one of them.  I wasn’t 100% clear on the language Hyatt sent over so I asked for clarification.  The question I asked was, “Are bookings through third-party TAs like Expedia eligible for free breakfast at Hyatt Place?”

The Answer, Kind Of

Here’s the answer I got from Hyatt:

We are allowing those who sign up on the spot for World of Hyatt at Hyatt Place hotels, no matter how they book, to get free breakfast during that stay. Moving forward, guests will get free breakfast when they book an eligible rate as a World of Hyatt member.

That answers our question, right?  Show of hands, how many people know what an “eligible rate” is?  I happen to know because I’m a travel nerd.  But, I’d suspect a large portion of every day customers don’t.

The Real Answer

If you’re currently a member of World of Hyatt and book through a 3rd party travel agency like Expedia, you will no longer get free breakfast.  Cue the pitchforks.  I actually interpreted yesterday’s statement this way after reading a few tea leaves.  I also have no issue with the change, as I said yesterday:

If I were a betting man, I’d say you’ll need to book directly with Hyatt (as opposed to Expedia or other online travel agencies) to get free breakfast.  If this is the case, some folks will lament this decision. Maybe it’s because I own a business, but I wholeheartedly agree with a change like this.  Hyatt (and all the other major chains) pay a commission to online travel agencies now in exchange for filling hotel rooms.  They get less access to customer information and less money.  If I were a hotel owner, I’d absolutely be trying to give my customers incentives to book directly with me.  If I can fill the room myself, commissions to online travel agencies are wasted money.

I like that they’re giving non-members a bite at the apple to sign-up for the program on the spot and get free breakfast.  I do think there will need to be a grace period for members to adjust.  View From The Wing talks about just this thing in his post from earlier today.

And, I think this creates logistical concerns properties will need to manage.  Hyatt Place hotels are limited service properties without a ton of staff.  Currently there’s no dedicated employee in the service area for breakfast.  Front-desk agents play some double duty and kitchen employees prepare and restock much of the food from back-of-the-house.  Who’s responsible for making sure you have your breakfast voucher?

The Final Two Pennies

Breakfast is a hot topic this week.  Marriott is in the process of walking back their definition of “free breakfast”.  Judging by the number of comments on that post, breakfast is a contentious issue.  And, my Twitter poll on Marriott’s definition of breakfast is pretty one-sided right now (still time to vote):

I’ll be interested to see how Hyatt implements this.  I suspect there will be a fair bit of teeth gnashing and some issues with the roll-out as customers adjust to the new reality.  Hotels want to rely less on online travel agencies.  They see the value of them as waning.  To some degree, they’re right in that the OTAs are struggling to grow revenue.  But, OTAs still do play a valuable role and major hotel chains have reduced the commission they pay for such rooms.  Free breakfast at Hyatt Place is just the latest salvo in a long battle.

The post CONFIRMED: Hyatt Members Need To Book Direct To Get Free Breakfast At Hyatt Place was published first on Pizza in Motion

 

2 Comments

  1. I wonder what the odds will be that this “must book direct with Hyatt” will cover corporate travel companies booking for employees through things like Concur? I guess most of us corporate travelers using Concur have status as members and it’s not a big deal but I hope this doesn’t hurt some infrequent work travelers.

    1. Scott, I asked this question of Hyatt and got a partial answer with a promise for more specifics later. In general, if you can book through a platform today and earn points on the rate today, that would qualify for free breakfast when this policy goes into effect.

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