In the second part of Hotel News Now’s two-part video interview, Hyatt Hotels Corporation’s President and CEO Mark Hoplamazian dives deeper into corporate culture and what’s driving today’s traveler.
Editor’s note: Click here for the full transcript of Hotel News Now’s interview with Hyatt Hotels Corporation’s President and CEO Mark Hoplamazian. Click here to read part one of the interview, where Hoplamazian talks about how empathy drives the company’s decisions, from acquisitions to branding.
CHICAGO—Experience is a big part of how President and CEO Mark Hoplamazian defines Hyatt Hotels Corporation. For him, experience includes what guests want from hotel stays and other journeys, and it’s also about creating a corporate culture that reinforces Hyatt’s values.
In part one of Hotel News Now’s interview with Hoplamazian at the company’s brand-new Chicago headquarters, he talked about how empathy and understanding influence many of Hyatt’s strategies. In part two, he takes those ideas further and applies them to Hyatt’s corporate culture, how the company is meeting the changing needs of today’s traveler and why now is a good time for the global hotel industry.
“I coined an equation at Hyatt, and it’s that empathy plus action equals care,” Hoplamazian said. “I can empathize and get to know you, but if I don’t do anything about that to help provide for you in some way, then I’m not really caring for you. Alternatively, if all I do is take action and serve you but I haven’t taken a moment to understand you, then I’m serving you but I’m not really caring for you.”
That equation extends to guests and employees, Hoplamazian said, and it played a big role in the design of Hyatt’s brand-new, 10-story world headquarters, completed this past summer in Chicago’s Loop neighborhood.
The space was designed by Gensler to mimic Hyatt’s seven touchpoints of the hotel experience: arrival, social space, food and beverage, guestrooms, activities and services, meetings and events, and departure.
Hoplamazian describes the new office space more in this video clip:
With many multiuse areas—like tables in meeting rooms that house induction burners so they can transition from meetings to buffets, and common areas with movable seating to accommodate impromptu meetings—Hyatt’s headquarters mimic the company’s hotel designs in many ways.
And design isn’t the only way Hyatt is bringing its hotel strategies to its corporate headquarters, which houses more than 1,000 employees, Hoplamazian said. The company also is keeping its values of empathy and wellness top of mind in the workday, too.
“Right now, we’re doing some experimentation and prototyping on (bringing in) some mindfulness practices you can pull into meetings on hotel property,” he said. “But it’s pretty wonderful to be able to practice those with your own colleagues. So we open some meetings with mindful moments as a means of testing it out.”
Values and culture
For Hoplamazian, it’s been easy to define Hyatt’s culture, because he sees employees and guests in much the same light.
“Through the work we’ve done around our purpose for the company, which is to care for people so they can be at their best, (we) really spent time rediscovering our roots and our foundation,” he said. “The sense of care really comes out of what our own colleagues told us. … That is, they felt cared for and they felt that they were also fulfilled in caring for others and other colleagues. So I would say that the corporate culture is very much centered around that care.
“There’s an emotional connectivity within the Hyatt family that really is definitional to our culture. And to me, that’s what’s special. That’s why I joined the company.”
Those values are echoed in trends Hoplamazian sees among his employees. He said they possess a growing desire for a sense of purpose.
“They want to identify what their own purpose is in life and how what they do relates to that,” he said. “They also want to work for an organization that has a higher sense of purpose in something that’s much bigger than themselves.”
How guest desires fit in
Once again, Hoplamazian sees a connection between overall human behavior trends and how Hyatt is interpreting those trends for its guests and hotels.
“The world is changing at a very rapid pace and our industry is changing at a rapid pace. So the need to remain agile and light on your feet and adaptable has never been more important,” he said. “That capacity is something that we continually work on to make sure that people are bringing a growth mindset to what they’re doing. … As the pace of change continues to accelerate, our capacity for adaptation needs to continue to rise as well.”
That means being adaptable to what guests want from travel experiences today. In the clip below, Hoplamazian gives more detail about why “guests are increasingly seeking out something that’s special and unique” from travel:
Now is the time to invest in elements that lend experience to travel, Hoplamazian said, because the world is at a convergence point. More people around the globe have increasing opportunities to travel, and when they do, they’re seeking authentic experiences, which includes genuine, caring service.
“If people are paying attention and really present when they’re traveling … we will have a better world in which to live because the level of understanding of other people and other cultures will be that much greater,” he said.
Hear more of Hoplamazian’s thoughts on why now is a positive time for the international hotel industry: