As small businesses across the globe struggle amid the pandemic, Hyatt Hotels Corp. is offering a lifeline to local entrepreneurs in the form of rent-free space and other resources.
In mid-November, the company debuted Hyatt Loves Local, an initiative designed to cultivate collaborations between Hyatt properties and small businesses in need. So far, about 60 hotels worldwide have opted in, and they provide support like free kitchen space to displaced restaurateurs and on-property marketing exposure for startups.
According to Amy Weinberg, Hyatt’s senior vice president for brand loyalty, brand marketing and consumer insights, the Hyatt Loves Local concept was developed “organically” after several Hyatt properties began forging partnerships with local businesses earlier in the year.
These included Baltimore’s Hotel Revival, a Joie de Vivre Hotel, which opened up its kitchen to various restaurants and allowed them to operate a delivery and pick-up service from the property’s valet stand, and the Andaz West Hollywood, which linked up with the Barcode Barbershop salon this fall. Barcode, which was limited to operating at just 25% capacity upon its reopening, was able to take over additional space at the hotel; it offered clients haircuts on the rooftop.
The Hyatt Loves Local initiative now span a variety of industries, including art, music, fashion and wellness.
In New York, Gild Hall, a Thompson Hotel, partnered with concierge fitness group Bach, which lost approximately 80% of its clients in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis. Since early October, Bach has been able to host socially distanced yoga and Pilates sessions on property, and Bach instructors utilize fitness studio space at Gild Hall.
In India, the Hyatt Regency Chennai has collaborated with men’s and women’s fashion designer Vivek Karunakaran, who was forced to shutter his flagship store and downsize his team by 75%. Karunakaran relocated to the Hyatt Regency and operates a pop-up boutique there that’s set to remain open through December 2021.
Another participating property is the Hyatt Regency Atlanta, which has provided free kitchen space to Atlanta-based Anna Bell’s Kitchen Mac & Cheese. Prior to the pandemic, the company had prepared its mac and cheese in commercial kitchens and sold it at farmers’ markets, a business model that was upended by Covid-19. Currently operating out of the Hyatt Regency Atlanta kitchen, Anna Bell’s has been able to sell its goods to locals and to hotel guests, via the hotel’s Lobby Market, and expand its reach with nationwide shipping.
Anna Bell’s is a Black-owned business, which means the Hyatt Regency Atlanta collaboration has overlap with Hyatt’s Change Starts Here commitment, an initiative focused in part on expanding Hyatt’s purchasing from minority-owned companies, and especially those that are Black-owned.
“We wanted to ensure that Hyatt Loves Local supported those more likely to be disproportionately impacted by Covid-19, like minority-owned businesses,” Weinberg said.