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How Hyatt Gift Cards & Certificates Profit From Change

Sometimes, good news in business comes with some challenges too. When Marriott Corp. decided to drop out of active participation in the corporate gift card market, Hyatt Gift Cards and Certificates experienced a significant increase in demand, while at the same time highlighting the issues it would have to address to profit from that demand.

“Marriott getting out of the business created a big shortage in the marketplace, since they have so many more properties,” says Lauren Hackett, Manager of Sales and Marketing for Hyatt Gift Cards and Certificates. “We’re a big name in terms of brand awareness and quality, but we simply don’t have the breadth of properties, so we had to be creative in helping our clients fill in gaps for destinations we couldn’t provide.” Today, she says, Hyatt’s growth has helped do just that, particularly in the all-inclusive family and adult resort categories, with the addition of Hyatt’s Ziva and Zilara properties, respectively, in Mexico and the Caribbean. When Marriott pulled out of the market, Hyatt had about 500 properties. Today, says Hackett, the total is around 600, with new properties being added regularly – particularly the Hyatt Place and Hyatt House brands.

“One of the greatest benefits of our brand and products is that they’re experiential and inspirational,” Hackett explains. “It’s about offering participants the ultimate reward that leaves a lasting impression before, during and after the trip. People post photos of the trips they earned through social media in a way that makes a lasting impact.” She adds: “With our suite of brands – select service, full service, boutique, luxury and all inclusives – there’s something for everyone. Families, couples young and old; people can choose the experience that fits their lifestyle. Whether they want a ‘staycation,’ or to plan the trip of a lifetime to Australia, or visit with family in Ohio, we offer aspirational awards that enable recipients to think out of the box to create the experience that’s right for them.” 
Drivers for Travel Growth
A number of factors are driving the popularity of travel, says Hackett, pointing not only to the Millennial generation in search of the “ultimate” experience, but also to the fact that travel remains an expensive proposition for many, so that the opportunity to have a company-paid trip has high perceived value that people want to share with their colleagues, friends and family. “This just adds to the buzz,” she notes.
The increased demand generated by Marriott’s departure from the marketplace, as well as the importance of the travel experience, forced Hyatt to address another issue that can affect the hospitality marketplace when it comes to individual travel awards: room availability. Hackett admits this was once a problem at Hyatt for its night based certificate. Like most hotel chains, the properties are privately owned and didn’t feel they received enough compensation for the rooms to provide “last room availability” for certificate holders. “We re-engineered the program and got the buy-in of key stakeholders and a large number of internal departments so we could offer last-room availability – it took effect last year,” she explains.
Hyatt offers the Hyatt Night room-based certificate with no dollar denomination to distinguish it from a cash award; it is sold at various levels to reflect the breadth and luxury of properties. This product is redeemable globally and is popular with incentive, recognition and other marketing companies that provide noncash reward solutions for clients. The most popular product, says Hackett, is the traditional dollar-denominated gift card that’s available in over 40 physical versions or digitally, and is redeemable in the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean. It offers a gift check product that can be redeemed worldwide. Hyatt also offers a certificate for its all-inclusive products.
Tech Challenges 
Hackett says the biggest challenge these days is the pace of change – especially in technology. “Just about when a big company like ours can address one technology issue, there’s a new one waiting,” she notes. As an example, Hackett points to the demand for digital awards, noting that while convenient, this also makes it more difficult to create a high impact experience when the person receives the reward. “There’s something to be said for the beautiful color packet with a card and pretty photos in terms of impact on the recipient,” she says. “We’re looking at how we can improve the digital experience, and at the same time face the serious issue of fraud that has to be addressed.” 
While consumers and small businesses can purchase gift cards online at certificates.hyatt.com, Hackett encourages businesses to contact her office directly to learn about the wide variety of products available both for corporate clients and the incentive, recognition, loyalty and promotional companies that serve them.
For more information on Hyatt gift cards and certificates, contact: 
Lauren Hackett
Manager, Sales & Marketing
Hyatt Gift Cards & Certificates
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