Thursday, June 10, 2010

Hyatt plans to develop more hotel properties

(LOS ANGELES) Hyatt Hotels Corp, the lodging chain controlled by the Pritzker family, plans to put more money into developing properties, president and chief executive officer Mark Hoplamazian said.

The Chicago-based company, which had 434 locations as of March 31, is buying and investing in joint ventures and debt financing to develop North American hotels. The strategy contrasts with rivals seeking to pare holdings.

'We are willing to invest our own money to see a developer put the shovel in the ground sooner than later,' Mr Hoplamazian said during an interview on Tuesday at the soon-to-open Andaz hotel on 41st Street and Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.

Marriott International, the largest US hotel chain, and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, the third-biggest, have said they are selling stakes in properties to focus on the operation of their hotels.

Starwood sold two of its W Hotels in Manhattan to St Giles Hotels in April as part of the plan.

Hyatt also is looking to expand the Grand Hyatt and boutique Andaz brands through new development, recapitalising stalled projects or taking over other hotels, Mr Hoplamazian said.

The company in April won the management contract for the Aviara Resort in California, formerly a Four Seasons Hotels venue, and said it will rebrand the property as a Park Hyatt. It converted the Ivy Hotel in San Diego into an Andaz in February.

Hyatt, which raised US$1.09 billion in an initial public offering last year, opened an Andaz property on Wall Street in Manhattan this year. It expects to debut the 41st Street location next month.

Mr Hoplamazian compared the brand to Starwood's W chain. 'The customer base is large enough and they are robust spenders on travel. We think for sure that Andaz has every bit of the potential as the W Hotel chain.' - Bloomberg

Source: Business Times, 10 Jun 2010

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