Susan Santiago, general manager of the Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort & Casino; Scott Seed, director of Business & Leisure Marketing for Hyatt; grand prize winner Paula Takamori of Travel to Paradise; and Paul Tang, vice president and managing director of Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress
Those in attendance at Hyatt Resorts' sixth annual Travel Agent Awards event at the Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort and Casino received plenty of good news about the company and its relationship with the travel agent community earlier this month.
In a move that strengthens the bond between supplier and agents, Hyatt announced that it had achieved gold-level ASTA sponsorship. The upgrade in relationship between Hyatt and ASTA brings Hyatt more into the fray for 2010 and beyond as it positions itself as an agent-friendly company.
“We welcome the opportunity to show our appreciation for the continued hard work of our travel agent partners” said Scott Seed, director of business and leisure marketing for Hyatt Hotels & Resorts. “Hyatt is committed to giving the travel agent community the tools they need to grow their business. Travel agent recommendations and sales efforts continue to be valuable to us, and we will support this community with strong relationships and generous incentives throughout 2010.”
Come 2010, agents will have a plerthora new Hyatt properties and one new Hyatt brand to pitch to their clients. Agents in attendance had a chance to see the new Hyatt Regency Curacao Golf Resort, Spa and Marina for themselves with a quick trip over from Aruba. They also learned of the Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach Resort & Spa in Clearwater, FL (read Jena Fox's interview with Brian Kramer, the general manager of the luxe property).
Meanwhile, the Park Hyatt brand will add six more properties throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe, and the extended-stay Summerfield Suites portfolio will grow at a rate of 10 to 15 new properties per year.
Hyatt also introduced a new brand to agents, Andaz— which means "personal style" in Hindi. The brand, according to Irby Morvant (the regional vice president of sales and resorts for Hyatt), will be "uncomplicated" and "engrained in local culture" with no front desk in the building and a relaxed, welcoming aura. The brand will have slow growth in select markets, with two slated to open in New York.
Paula Takamori, of Travel to Paradise in Oahu, received the top award for being a true Hyatt supporter. Her prizes included a $5,000 Hyatt gift card; $5,000 American Airlines gift card and $2,500 in other gift cards and an original painting. Paula also won a $2500 Hyatt gift card to award to one of her clients.
There were 15 other agents each won five-night stays at a Hyatt Resort in the U.S. and Caribbean.
Deborah McEvoy of Liberty Travel
Rebecca Pantal Spina of Majesty Travel
Andrea Wilburn of AAA Mid Atlantic
Arthur Grable of Cruise One
Corey Slee of Worldview Travel Beverly Hills
Shamratie Coomar of BCD Travel
Robin McMcullen of Classic World Travel
Susie Rodnon of Key West Key Inc.
Melissa Johnson of American Express
Hyunju Baxter of AAA Austin
Julie Ann Curlee of Carlson Wagonlit Travel
Kathy Heath of The Travel Authority
Jim Augerinos of Perfect Honeymoons & Holidays
Judy Pasillas of AAA Arcadia
Kathy Morrison of Morrison Travel & Cruise
Hyatt also introduced its Hyatt Travel Specialist global education program. In addition to emboldening sales and getting discounts for clients and themselves, graduation from the specialist course rewards agents with Continuing Education Credits from The Travel Institutes for CTCs and CTAs, an opportunity to register for Hyatt's monthly Travel Agent e-newsletter, and a chance to win a $100 Hyatt gift card.