World Of Hyatt Has A New Leader

Filed Under: Hyatt

Just over a month ago, Hyatt appointed Mark Vondrasek as their new executive vice president and global head of loyalty & new business platforms. This was an interesting decision, given that Mark spent 15 years in leadership roles at Starwood, most recently as a senior vice president and commercial services officer. There he managed Starwood Preferred Guest, 10 customer contact centers, mobile applications, digital initiatives, business-to-business sales strategy, revenue management, and sales.

I was happy about this announcement. While I was a big fan of Hyatt Gold Passport back in the day, World of Hyatt has left me rather disappointed. While I get what they’re going for with using World of Hyatt as their global platform for connecting guests, there are just too many little details that aren’t well thought out.

I had the chance to speak with Mark shortly after he was appointed, and came away with a positive impression. While he didn’t reveal a whole lot about his plans yet, it’s clear he’s listening and coming in with an open mind, and I think that’s the best we can hope for.

What we also learned at the time was that Hyatt planned to appoint a new senior vice president of World of Hyatt before the end of the year. This person would be taking over Jeff Zidell’s job, as he stepped down from that position back in May.

World of Hyatt has a new leader

Well, the wait is over — Amy Weinberg has been appointed the senior vice president of World of Hyatt, and will report to Mark Vondrasek. Amy will direct Hyatt’s global World of Hyatt loyalty experience and teams, including program strategy and innovation, partnerships, operations, and management.

Here’s some background on Amy — it’s interesting to note that she spent 12 years at Starwood as a senior vice president, so she has a Starwood background, much like Mark:

Weinberg joins Hyatt with more than 20 years of experience in building brand strength in loyalty through consumer insights, market research, and strategic marketing and operations. Most recently, she spent two years as general manager for Groupdigital.com Corp, consulting for a variety of disciplines, including hospitality, hotel management, real estate ownership and development companies.

Prior to that, Weinberg spent 12 years as senior vice president, consumer insights for Starwood Hotels and Resorts. In the position, Weinberg was responsible for leading global analytics, market research and customer relationship management functions, including a global team supporting all of Starwood’s brands and divisions, as well as the Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) loyalty program. Weinberg’s career also includes previous roles at Fulcrum Analytics, The Chicago Tribune Company, and Strategic Media Research.

Here’s what Mark and Amy said about the appointment:

“Hyatt is fortunate to welcome a reputable leader in the loyalty space. Amy’s impressive track record in data insights and analytics will help advance our efforts to identify with our guests and understand their needs,” said Vondrasek. “Amy is a thoughtful, smart and intuitive leader who combines analytical strength with a passion to lead and develop others. This role is critical to our business as we continue to accelerate momentum of the World of Hyatt loyalty program and engage more deeply with our guests.”

“I have always admired Hyatt and its dedication to caring for guests, members and colleagues. I’m thoroughly familiar with the World of Hyatt loyalty platform and eager to build upon the strong foundation Hyatt has created with its guests, both within and beyond traditional hotel stays,” said Weinberg. “It’s an exciting time as Hyatt expands into wellness and other opportunities, and I look forward to helping drive overall guest engagement across Hyatt’s portfolio of brands.”

I don’t think I’ve had the privilege of meeting Amy, though I hope to at some point, and can’t wait to see what she does with World of Hyatt. In general I’m optimistic about the fact that Hyatt has hired two loyalty executives who have backgrounds with Starwood. I respect both Hyatt and Starwood immensely, though lately I feel like Hyatt has lost its mojo when it comes to loyalty. I’m hopeful that Amy (and Mark, for that matter) can come in with a fresh attitude and change things for the better.

Congrats to Amy, and we’re all rooting for you! Now please count award stays towards elite status (like virtually all of Hyatt’s competitors do), and have Globalist suite upgrades expire at year-end, rather than the current 12 month policy, which in some cases causes people to book away from Hyatt to delay requalification. There’s a lot more to change, but that’s the low hanging fruit that would generate a lot of goodwill in the short term, in my opinion.

Comments
  1. As a Globalist I’ve only had 3 stays with Hyatt this year since the switch to World Of Hyatt.

    Went from one of the best to worst programs overnight, especially with the adoption of flat 60-night stay requirement which is hard to achieve with a brand that has a much smaller US and global footprint versus competitors.

  2. @James +1
    Just one stay this year with one more next month. Maybe new leadership will help but I’m not counting on it.

  3. They completely dropped the ball on promos. The 75,000 points for 25 stays was great and even the double points last time wasn’t horrible. But since then? Nothing. Not sure why bother staying a lot of nights with them without any incentives

  4. Hyatt doesn’t need another star player in their World of Hurt. What they ACTUALLY need is to address their serious footprint shortfall. I don’t need a trillion suite award certs if there’s nowhere to use them.

  5. As a Globalist who just completed my 66th qualifying night for the year, and former Intercontinental Royal Ambassador, I’m very happy with WOH. I like that the requirements for WOH top status is published (unlike intercontinental) and I like that it’s a high number of nights to qualify (makes the status more elite – fewer people in the lounge and upgrading to suites.). Speaking of suites, I’ve been upgraded to a suite without using guaranteed upgrades at virtually every park, grand, regency, and Andez I’ve stayed at (Hyderabad PH, Delhi Andez and HR, Goa GH, Dubai PH, Doha GH, Paris PH, Berlin GH, Amerstdam HR, West Hollywood Andez, DFW GH, Houston Gallery HR, DC PH, Waikiki Centric, Tokyo PH, Beijing GH, Taipei GH, Singapore GH). Over the last year the non upgrade stays were at SF GH, SFO HR, Bangkok GH, Ft Lauderdale Pier 66 HR, DC HR, and PHX HP.

  6. I am a nearly 20 year veteran as a Hyatt Diamond. I tried Starwood Platinum back in 2005?? I think from a status match. Every Starwood stay my wife would respond, wow, SPG Platinum is not like Hyatt. So this appointment has me worried, and thinking this will be the end of chasing hotel status.

    SPG had little focus on delivering the promised benefits. They were good at promoting their product saying how great these suite upgrades were. Sure we got a couple, but big deal, for the most part hotel loyalty was little better the kettle elite and booking with Priceline at the time.

    What Hyatt did well on in the past was offer generous points on stays. Hyatt also offered free breakfast or lounge access to all members. That even encouraged me to eat lunch or dinner in the hotels.

    I don’t see the new leadership as being a positive move. I hope I am wrong, or I likely won’t see my 21st consecutive year as a D̶i̶a̶m̶o̶n̶d̶ er Globalist.

  7. @James, it’s true there might be fewer people using the lounges. However if the properties find that there aren’t many people using them, they’ll reduce the hours or offer less.

  8. Maybe she will help to upgrade World of Hyatt from the Back Alley Abortion it is now to merely a Dumpster Fire

  9. Hi it’s globalist program this year has been beyond disappointing, compared to when we had the diamond program… Prior to the globalist program, we received 500 points for checking into a Hyatt Place property, I thousand points for checking into a Hyatt Regency, etc. etc. as a globalist, there are no real benefits at any Hyatt placed for that status. I complain that we don’t even get a bottle of water, now they at least are for you a bottle of water which is a joke when you can buy a case of water for around four or five dollars. Do the math, 60 nights helps you retain your status… But at 60 nights of Hyatt Places that would be 30,000 points we no longer receive if 30 of those days were at Hyatt regency’s that would be 30,000 points as well. We basically got screwed out of a lot of points for what?

  10. I have 5 nights to go to get Globalist. It has been hard. I was not that impressed with Starwood when I was with them. Even less at Hilton. I have had to remind Hyatt for a suite upgrade saying it is available. Gotta give big Kudos to Andaz London they really know how to treat their clients, treat us like Royalty!

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