Authentic Travel Experiences Are The New Luxury Status Symbols — Just Ask Sir Hyatt

A colleague recently told me about an incredible customer-service experience a friend of his had, while flying a few weeks ago. His friend, who was an American Airlines Executive Platinum member, was going to Asia. He flew American Airlines to San Francisco, and then took Cathay Pacific from San Francisco to China. Cathay Pacific is…

Authentic Travel Experiences Are The New Luxury Status Symbols — Just Ask Sir Hyatt


A colleague recently told me about an incredible customer-service experience a friend of his had, while flying a few weeks ago.

His friend, who was an American Airlines Executive Platinum member, was going to Asia. He flew American Airlines to San Francisco, and then took Cathay Pacific from San Francisco to China. Cathay Pacific is a partner of American (they’re both in the One World Alliance) and it cross-referenced his reservation. The gentleman hadn’t been in his seat for two minutes, before the Cathay Pacific flight attendant came over, thanked him for his business, called him by name, and asked if he needed anything.

“That’s extraordinary,” says Dan Sachs, author of the new book,The Million-Dollar Greeting: Today’s Best Practices for Profit, Customer Retention, and a Happy Workplace(Apollo Publishers, 2018). Mr.Sachs is the president of Meerkat Restaurant Advisory, an A-list restaurant advisory group, and a professor of entrepreneurship, hospitality management, and service leadership at DePaul University.

According to business author Dan Sachs, highly-personalized luxury travel is the new norm.Dan Sachs

Mr. Sachs granted me an interview to discuss the future of luxury,travel,and customer service.

Whereas designer handbags and jewelry used to be status symbols, Mr. Sachssaysthat nowitis all about authentic, individual experiences.

He believes that nowadays, most travelers want a memorable experience, and one “in a way that a tangible product can’t,” he says. The hotel lobby, for example, he says used to be a mere place of checking in, with maybe a couch. Today, however, Mr. Sachs says it is a “central experience,” with food and beverages, seating options, and a place where you can meet friends. “That’s where luxury is going,” he says — “towards more personalized experiences.”

Of course, technology plays a big part of today’s luxury travel experiences. On the operator end, it can help to record and define guest preferences, while on the consumer end, it provides endless opportunities to document what happened on Facebook and Twitter.

“High-end resorts like the Four Seasons and the Langham know and have catalogued what you prefer. You can get what you want, when you want it, in the way you want it.”

In his new book, Mr. Sachs interviewed leaders at hospitality companies such as Mark Hoplamazian at Hyatt Hotels, and Ari Weinzweig of the ever-popular Ann Arbor delicatessen, Zingerman’s. He says that if you follow the lessons of these best-in-class leaders, it can lead to extraordinary outcomes that include more productivity, profitability and customer retention.

In the chapter devoted to Hyatt Hotels, for example, Mr. Sachs quotes Mr. Hoplamazian in saying something that is spot-on in today’s corporate culture: “The thing I’ve been reinforcing to people is you cannot practice empathy and be on the clock. You have to take that extra moment. It doesn’t take an extra five minutes, but it does take an extra minute.”

As is detailed in the book, in addition, Mr. Hoplamazian kept asking Hyatt employees about their purpose within the company, and “they acknowledged that the reason so many stayed with the company long-term was because of the ’emotional connectivity’ they had with colleagues. In his discussion, Mr. Hoplamazian also discovered that most employees also disliked their uniforms, and the rigid guidelines for wearing their hair. Faster than you can say, “Bobby pin,” Hyatt did away with the rules regarding hair, and let employees wear their preferred uniforms,encouraging employees to “just be yourself.” His belief is that Authenticity beats Perfection every time.

Come And Meet The World’s Cutest Little Canine At The Hyatt Regency LAX

I’ll give you a personal example of that authenticity — and it happens every day at theHyatt Regency Hotel at Los Angeles International Airport, which was just named  one of Hyatt Hotel’s 2018 “Hotels of the Year.”

It ranks in the top one-third of TripAdvisor’s 356 hotels in Los Angeles, and above many luxury and upscale hotels in the city,  confirming the hotel’s exceptional guest experience. Furthermore, a number of recent and high-profile media have featured the hotel as a Food & Beverage innovator as well an outstanding example of the new wave of airport hotels.

Just as its signature catchphrase tells you, everything about the hotel is Unquestionably Unairport. (Hashtag #UnquestionablyUnairport).

Especially Sir Hyatt.

Sir Hyatt is the adorable, fluffy little Fido who is a fulltime Hyatt Hotels’ employee.Hyatt LAX

Who’s that, you ask? Sir Hyatt is the name of the darling little dog — and fulltime Hyatt employee — who calls the Hyatt LAX his home. He is never left unattended, is walked several times a day, and does his best to make friends with all guests. The best part: Sir Hyatt is a professional therapy dog who helps people with separation anxiety — and that’s just the ticket for many of the folks who fly into this airport hotel. “Sir Hyatt helps our guests with separation anxiety,” explains Libby Zarrahy, the hotel’s marketing director. The beautiful mix terrier — with an ever-wagging tail — is about four years old, and “his popularity grew and grew,” says Ms. Zarrahy. So much so that Sir Hyatt is frequently featured on the hotel’sFacebook account(with many hilarious posts).

Sir Hyatt taking a break in the lounge at the Hyatt Regency at Los Angeles International Airport. Come by to pet his fur and get a dynamic dose of wellness on your trip.Hyatt Regency LAX

Even better, the furry little Fido is a rescue dog. Ms Zarrahy says that the hotel first came up with the idea of an in-house pooch, and then fell in love with acquiring a rescue dog. “We couldn’t think of anything better than a dog from a rescue facility,” explains Ms. Zarrahy. “Sir Hyatt fit our profile perfectly, as he is well-tempered, not intimidated by traffic in the lobby, is approachable, and is very loving.” She adds: “As anyone would tell you, animals who are rescued know it and give back in terms of their loyalty and love.”

Sir Hyatt definitely does that — and more. As a fulltime Hyatt Regency hotel employee, he enjoys all benefits including grooming once a month, vaccinations, and his registration as a professional therapy dog. More extraordinarily, Ms. Zarrahy adds: “There are many flight crews who plan their trips to stop in LA just so they can see and visit with Sir Hyatt and have their picture taken with him.”

Best of all, from his point of view, Sir Hyatt can wear his fur any way he prefers.

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A colleague recently told me about an incredible customer-service experience a friend of his had, while flying a few weeks ago.

His friend, who was an American Airlines Executive Platinum member, was going to Asia. He flew American Airlines to San Francisco, and then took Cathay Pacific from San Francisco to China. Cathay Pacific is a partner of American (they’re both in the One World Alliance) and it cross-referenced his reservation. The gentleman hadn’t been in his seat for two minutes, before the Cathay Pacific flight attendant came over, thanked him for his business, called him by name, and asked if he needed anything.

“That’s extraordinary,” says Dan Sachs, author of the new book,The Million-Dollar Greeting: Today’s Best Practices for Profit, Customer Retention, and a Happy Workplace(Apollo Publishers, 2018). Mr.Sachs is the president of Meerkat Restaurant Advisory, an A-list restaurant advisory group, and a professor of entrepreneurship, hospitality management, and service leadership at DePaul University.

According to business author Dan Sachs, highly-personalized luxury travel is the new norm.Dan Sachs

Mr. Sachs granted me an interview to discuss the future of luxury,travel,and customer service.

Whereas designer handbags and jewelry used to be status symbols, Mr. Sachssaysthat nowitis all about authentic, individual experiences.

He believes that nowadays, most travelers want a memorable experience, and one “in a way that a tangible product can’t,” he says. The hotel lobby, for example, he says used to be a mere place of checking in, with maybe a couch. Today, however, Mr. Sachs says it is a “central experience,” with food and beverages, seating options, and a place where you can meet friends. “That’s where luxury is going,” he says — “towards more personalized experiences.”

Of course, technology plays a big part of today’s luxury travel experiences. On the operator end, it can help to record and define guest preferences, while on the consumer end, it provides endless opportunities to document what happened on Facebook and Twitter.

“High-end resorts like the Four Seasons and the Langham know and have catalogued what you prefer. You can get what you want, when you want it, in the way you want it.”

In his new book, Mr. Sachs interviewed leaders at hospitality companies such as Mark Hoplamazian at Hyatt Hotels, and Ari Weinzweig of the ever-popular Ann Arbor delicatessen, Zingerman’s. He says that if you follow the lessons of these best-in-class leaders, it can lead to extraordinary outcomes that include more productivity, profitability and customer retention.

In the chapter devoted to Hyatt Hotels, for example, Mr. Sachs quotes Mr. Hoplamazian in saying something that is spot-on in today’s corporate culture: “The thing I’ve been reinforcing to people is you cannot practice empathy and be on the clock. You have to take that extra moment. It doesn’t take an extra five minutes, but it does take an extra minute.”

As is detailed in the book, in addition, Mr. Hoplamazian kept asking Hyatt employees about their purpose within the company, and “they acknowledged that the reason so many stayed with the company long-term was because of the ’emotional connectivity’ they had with colleagues. In his discussion, Mr. Hoplamazian also discovered that most employees also disliked their uniforms, and the rigid guidelines for wearing their hair. Faster than you can say, “Bobby pin,” Hyatt did away with the rules regarding hair, and let employees wear their preferred uniforms,encouraging employees to “just be yourself.” His belief is that Authenticity beats Perfection every time.

Come And Meet The World’s Cutest Little Canine At The Hyatt Regency LAX

I’ll give you a personal example of that authenticity — and it happens every day at theHyatt Regency Hotel at Los Angeles International Airport, which was just named  one of Hyatt Hotel’s 2018 “Hotels of the Year.”

It ranks in the top one-third of TripAdvisor’s 356 hotels in Los Angeles, and above many luxury and upscale hotels in the city,  confirming the hotel’s exceptional guest experience. Furthermore, a number of recent and high-profile media have featured the hotel as a Food & Beverage innovator as well an outstanding example of the new wave of airport hotels.

Just as its signature catchphrase tells you, everything about the hotel is Unquestionably Unairport. (Hashtag #UnquestionablyUnairport).

Especially Sir Hyatt.

Sir Hyatt is the adorable, fluffy little Fido who is a fulltime Hyatt Hotels’ employee.Hyatt LAX

Who’s that, you ask? Sir Hyatt is the name of the darling little dog — and fulltime Hyatt employee — who calls the Hyatt LAX his home. He is never left unattended, is walked several times a day, and does his best to make friends with all guests. The best part: Sir Hyatt is a professional therapy dog who helps people with separation anxiety — and that’s just the ticket for many of the folks who fly into this airport hotel. “Sir Hyatt helps our guests with separation anxiety,” explains Libby Zarrahy, the hotel’s marketing director. The beautiful mix terrier — with an ever-wagging tail — is about four years old, and “his popularity grew and grew,” says Ms. Zarrahy. So much so that Sir Hyatt is frequently featured on the hotel’sFacebook account(with many hilarious posts).

Sir Hyatt taking a break in the lounge at the Hyatt Regency at Los Angeles International Airport. Come by to pet his fur and get a dynamic dose of wellness on your trip.Hyatt Regency LAX

Even better, the furry little Fido is a rescue dog. Ms Zarrahy says that the hotel first came up with the idea of an in-house pooch, and then fell in love with acquiring a rescue dog. “We couldn’t think of anything better than a dog from a rescue facility,” explains Ms. Zarrahy. “Sir Hyatt fit our profile perfectly, as he is well-tempered, not intimidated by traffic in the lobby, is approachable, and is very loving.” She adds: “As anyone would tell you, animals who are rescued know it and give back in terms of their loyalty and love.”

Sir Hyatt definitely does that — and more. As a fulltime Hyatt Regency hotel employee, he enjoys all benefits including grooming once a month, vaccinations, and his registration as a professional therapy dog. More extraordinarily, Ms. Zarrahy adds: “There are many flight crews who plan their trips to stop in LA just so they can see and visit with Sir Hyatt and have their picture taken with him.”

Best of all, from his point of view, Sir Hyatt can wear his fur any way he prefers.

I hereby give credit where credit is due to the author

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