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Hyatt purchases 143-unit AmeriSuites hotel chain

Travel News Asia 9 December 2004

Hyatt Corporation is to purchase the 143-unit AmeriSuites hotel chain from affiliates of The Blackstone Group. Definitive agreements have been concluded and the transaction is expected to close in early January.

The move is a strategic component of the process resulting in the formation of Global Hyatt Corporation, a new parent company over Hyatt Hotels Corporation (domestic US, Canada and Caribbean hotel operations), Hyatt International Corporation (international hotel operations), Hyatt Equities (hotel ownership) and Hyatt Vacation Club, Inc. (timeshare). According to Thomas Pritzker, chairman and CEO of Hyatt Corp, the formation of the new umbrella company will be completed by December 31, 2004. Mr. Pritzker will also serve as chairman and CEO of Global Hyatt.

AmeriSuites is an all-suite, upscale limited service hotel brand. Hyatt's acquisition of AmeriSuites will enable it to ultimately create a new Hyatt brand that is fully distinguishable from its existing portfolio of 214 upper upscale and luxury hotels in 43 countries around the world. According to Pritzker, it is Hyatt's intention that the AmeriSuites chain will become the upscale limited service leader in performance and profitability by means of new segment-appropriate product and service standards.

"A primary objective of the Global Hyatt process is to better utilize the power of the Hyatt brand, infrastructure, distribution network and talents of our people more intensively to increase earnings growth without compromising the value of our brand," Pritzker said. "The addition of this leading, upscale limited service entity will enable us to create a new brand extension that will benefit the Hyatt brand and the owners and customers of our existing hotels, as well as the owners, franchisees and customers of AmeriSuites."

Nicholas Pritzker, chairman of Hyatt Development Corp., who will also serve as vice chairman and director of Global Hyatt, said, "Consistent with our family's tradition, we believe this acquisition represents a key strategic opportunity for growth and profitability for Hyatt. The future growth of AmeriSuites will complement the continuing growth of Hyatt's full-service hotel portfolio."

Following its acquisition of AmeriSuites, Hyatt plans to invest more than $150 million in capital expenditures and related brand and marketing innovations that will translate appropriate elements of "the Hyatt Touch" into the upscale limited service arena. The new brand will be created following completion of that program.

"Within its category, we expect this new segment of our business to reflect Hyatt's reputation for high quality customer experiences and accommodations, innovation and leading-edge technology," said Doug Geoga, Hyatt's president who will also serve as president of Global Hyatt Corp. "Following the repositioning, the AmeriSuites hotels will carry a new Hyatt brand, communicating that segment leading position and allowing the chain to deliver outstanding value to its customers and superior economics to the owners of its hotels." 

According to Geoga, the addition of the AmeriSuites product will also extend Hyatt's distribution, leading to improved customer loyalty and greater breadth of the company's Gold Passport frequency program, and allow Hyatt's global sales force to sell more effectively by offering accommodations at multiple tiers of the market and increasing the number of destinations that Hyatt serves.

"Growth potential in the upscale limited service category is significant both in the U.S. and internationally," said Steve Goldman, Hyatt's executive vice president of acquisitions and development, who will also serve in that capacity for Global Hyatt. "Hyatt will analyze opportunities for expanding the new brand in strategic markets around the world."

A senior management team led by industry veterans Jim Abrahamson and Mike Leven will effectuate the AmeriSuites strategy for Hyatt.

"This team will build on the strength of Hyatt's management depth and experience and the strong management capabilities of the existing AmeriSuites organization," Geoga said.

Abrahamson will be responsible for all aspects of the AmeriSuites business. Before joining Hyatt, he was president of Baymont Inns and Woodfield Suites, and also spent 13 years with Hilton in its franchising, development and operating groups. Among his other responsibilities at Hilton, Abrahamson led the creation, development, implementation and franchising of Hilton Garden Inns.

Leven is founder, CEO and president of U.S. Franchise Systems (USFS), a Hyatt subsidiary with nearly 500 hotel franchises currently open or under construction. Leven, who has become an industry icon during his 44-year hospitality career, previously served as president and chief operating officer of Holiday Inn Worldwide and as president of Days Inn of America. The capabilities of Leven and his USFS team will be used by Hyatt to assure the provision of high quality franchise services to AmeriSuites franchisees.

It is anticipated that by second quarter 2005, AmeriSuites customers will be able to participate in Hyatt's Gold Passport loyalty program through their stays at AmeriSuites. Until then, they will continue to participate in the Prime Rewards program. AmeriSuites will also be included in Hyatt's global sales efforts in the future.

See other recent news from: Hyatt

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