Hyatt releases its Q3 results today, so I thought I’d pre-empt the webcast and take a look at the company's digital efforts.
Is its digital marketing as good as the hotels? And how do its efforts compare to some big name competition?
It turns out Hyatt is fairly solid, online. I didn’t get mad trying to use the website, and everything was easy to find, with a good mobile presence.
To take it to the next level, Hyatt would have to redesign its website to match the modern design of RoomKey or Top10.com.
It would also be great to see more rich content on the Hyatt website, rather than simply its social channels. This would allow more of the atmosphere of the hotels and the ethos of the brand to suffuse the browsing and booking process.
Let’s have a look at the brand's paid, owned and earned digital content.
From the homepage, clicking the fairly non-descript ‘What’s on your mind?’ box leads to a nice little microsite (experiences.hyatt.com) built around the traveller experience.
There’s some good stuff in here.
- An enormous Twitter plug-in allowing users to tweet their ideal experiences #InAHyattWorld. This is followed by a selection of social activity.
- One can scroll for a while, past large pictures of rooms, meals and additional services, all of which lay out a little of the Hyatt philosophy.
- If you reach the bottom of this page, you’re invited to email in your comments.
- There’s a menu at the top of the page, which will allow you to avoid scrolling, and means it’s easier to find each section.
- There are also links to social networks, the booking engine and the Hyatt blog.
- The Hyatt blog is fairly anodyne, but provides visually enjoyable content that is then used across social networks.
Back within the main Hyatt website, there’s a slightly dated feel, but crucially it’s very easy to use and seems to conform to usability standards.
The screenshot of the 'about' page below shows how information is at hand and navigation doesn’t pose any problems.
Overall, I’d like to see more rich content.
For example, some of Hyatt’s fairly polished videos, which can be seen on YouTube.
I imagine there’s a fair amount of tech work needed to try to get social content and bigger text included in the site, likely a site redesign, so it makes sense to have created microsites if it’s proving hard to change something that works well.
In the long run, the site will need a revamp, it’s just a question of when. Comparing it to a rival brand such as Hilton or Marriott it doesn’t look as good, even if Hilton itself isn’t quite bang up to date.
In fact, many of the updates, aesthetically, that could be made to bring Hyatt up to date, are seen here in RoomKey. Of course, Hyatt is one of the brands that founded RoomKey, so it has the experience.
Moving towards this kind of interface, or something like Top10.com is surely the next step.
The mobile site is much like the desktop site in its sophistication. It’s not the slickest or most beautiful I've used, it’s not full of extra content and engaging UX, but it works.
Bear in mind that this isn’t criticism. It’s fairly refreshing that it works, but could probably do with an update, perhaps when the brand decides to revamp the entire site further down the line.
The mobile app, however, is much nicer, as you’d expect. It includes solid and easy to use functionality, providing offers and a booking engine. There’s also good contact information and rewards sections.
Here are some screen grabs:
At the time there were some reservations about how workable the platform was for one-to-one communication and a concierge service.
Whilst it’s undoubtedly more appropriate to call a concierge if you require a quick response, in many situations Twitter is handy, especially before and after a stay. Just check out the replies from the account.
In fact, I came across a tweet from Jeremiah Oywang when I checked it out, as well as lots of examples of good service, pictured below.
@JerseyDebMadey Depending on the way a room was booked, may determine this (i.e. group/convention etc.). Please DM the confirmation number.— Hyatt Concierge (@HyattConcierge) October 24, 2013
There are also some Hotel specific Twitter accounts such as Hawaii’s lovely Grand Hyatt, which do a good job, both pushing their own entertainment, and advertising their services.
Check out our Grand Hyatt Kauai Tumblr page for more pictures of our new wedding location! http://t.co/5HzNvOfvXo— Grand Hyatt Kauai (@GrandHyattKauai) October 28, 2013
Note the link to a Tumblr here, showing Hyatt is at home on multiple social networks, and is confident allowing its hotels to take control of marketing.
Quite a visual account; great imagery and a bold mix of competitions, videos, photos and strong use of hashtags. The account doesn’t overdo the number of posts, with around five every week.
This plus page has been up since June 2012, and the style of content has been consistent – destinations ideas, brand achievements, green credentials, hotel recipes etc. Here's a great example.
Hyatt is given a real boost in the SERPs with its Google Plus enabled card in the sidebar, as shown below.
Upon checking out the Hyatt Facebook page, I realised the updates to G+ and Facebook are pretty much the same. I doubt this will cause any problems, as G+ is still finding its place, and users won’t be engaging with Hyatt on multiple social networks too often.
The account has 295k likes and is solid but unspectacular – I’m not sure why content comes across a lot cleaner on G+, perhaps it’s the bigger post sizes.
The Facebook pages are used in minimally, with some healthy recipes on offer, and a competition to win a Hyatt Gold Passport. This competition looks nice with a jazzy ‘guerrila’ video advert embedded on the page and a nice hashtag.
Unfortunately, the page doesn’t effectively explain what you could win, and how. A bit of a shame it’s not clearer.
There’s some good content here and some decent viewing figures, sometimes in the hundreds of thousands (though not many followers – 3k).
As previously stated, this content needs to be used on website real estate, not simply pushed socially.
Interestingly, though they seem to have a mix of PPC ad copy, healthy eating is one line of attack, as you can see below.
This ties in nicely with their philosophy of sustainable food with plenty of healthy options. The chain has linked up with Jamie Oliver and others.
I haven’t seen too much on their ads across the web, although last year they started some mobile advertising in travel hotspots.
The aim was to offer travellers free wifi in exchange for clicking an ad and watching a short video on something about Hyatt.
Hyatt is also using social media to understand how to target its advertising, with the widely covered news earlier this year that it pulled some of a content marketing campaign aimed at business women.
The campaign was to have piggy backed on the release of Sheryl Sandberg’s book. Social sentiment analysis and predictive analytics revealed that although women book 87% of travel, Hyatt didn’t know if they wanted to be targeted in this way – with the slogan of ‘women get it all’.
There’s a range of sites, such as Hyatt at Home, that sells all the linen, toiletries, furniture etc from the hotels.
Hyatt Development is a nice site that’s build with a more modern aesthetic, albeit not an ecommerce site (obviously). It showcases the architecture business that Hyatt runs, with its knowledge of throwing up hotels.
There’s a Hyatt Food microsite – the home page looks good, but it’s a fairly small site, with a few pages of information, mainly consisting of text. However, its presence does indicate a commitment to food, which is one of the important parts of a hotel stay, for many.
There’s also the unfortunate Hyatt Hurts, not a part of Hyatt, which doesn’t rank particularly well but ranked page one when I searched for ‘Hyatt campaigns’.
Back on the main site, let’s take a look at the reservations process.
The pop out ‘special rates’ and ‘Rooms and guests’ box need to be closed once opened, and the clickable areas, both to pop-out and to close, are small. This means it’s a bit more finicky than it could be.
Once you’ve searched, there’s a prominent phone number for assistance, and a rather clunky map that just about does the job of showing you where the hotels are located.
The relevant hotels are listed, and can be filtered as standard: price, distance etc
Once a hotel is selected, the product page is nice. It could definitely look a bit slicker, but all the information is there, and there’s a minimum number of pages to click through.
Once I’ve selected a room, there’s a form for my guest and payment details all on the same page, and then I’m done.
So, it turns out Hyatt is fairly staid.
Do I think its digital presence marks Hyatt out from competitors? No. But, most importantly in a sector such as travel, the website suitably enables travellers, is easy to use and provides relevant information.
At no point in interacting with the brand online did I want to punch something out of frustration. Maybe for travel that’s the definition of success, for now. As to how Hyatt will further use digital content, other than photographs, to push engagement, that’s up to them.
Highlights include a Twitter concierge service, and microsites that look more pleasing than Hyatt.com.
Once Hyatt combines its solid experience of a usable booking site, with the modern feel of RoomKey, and its low-key but well-executed social media presence, it’ll be closer to the front.