Launched in 2007, Hyatt Hotels Corporation owned lifestyle hotel brand, Andaz Hotels has grown rapidly across leisure destinations worldwide. A total of 17 properties across Asia, Europe and America, each premise has been inspired by the cultural and social life of the locale it is based in. The hotel promises to welcome guests ‘to create inspiring experiences through a kaleidoscope of local culture’.
In a recent interaction, we caught up with Eric Brun, Senior Vice President Brands and Marketing at Hyatt. Based in Zurich, Eric is responsible for developing and managing the regional brand and marketing strategy in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and South West Asia.
Read on as he shares what the Andaz brand is all about, what guests could expect from a stay at one of its properties and how it’s evolving as the social hotel of the future.
OPR: What can guests expect when they stay in an Andaz hotel? Say, if a guest was visiting Singapore for the first time?
Eric: The Andaz brand is all about inspiration and creativity, expanding people’s horizons and perspectives. We want our guests to arrive a visitor and depart a local, and deeply immerse themselves in the very best of local culture. Did you know, for example, that Andaz is a Hindi word meaning “personal style”?
We want our guests to arrive a visitor and depart a local
When our guests arrive at an Andaz hotel, we welcome them with a complimentary beverage in our lounge and an inquisitive excitement to see how we can turn our guests’ stays into opportunities not only to explore, but to become part of the surrounding neighbourhood.
Andaz Singapore for example, is at the heart of cultural crossroads, where Kampong Glam, Little India and the Bras Basah Bugis arts and entertainment hub. Andaz Singapore draws inspiration from its lively surroundings – intimate alleyways filled with shop houses in vibrant colours and textures – and weaves this ambience into the hotel to offer guests fresh perspectives of the city. Promoting dining with a sense of place, Andaz Singapore took inspiration from the spontaneous experience of Singapore street-dining and created an alleyway experience within its premises with seven shophouses featuring an array of local flavors and cooking techniques, all with unique skyline views from the 25th floor.
Pictured above is Andaz Singapore (Image source: Andaz Website)
OPR: On One Planet Rating, some of the aspects we ask users to rate and review include social and cultural factors. How well is Andaz doing in these aspects?
Eric: We want the Andaz guest to be inspired by their destination, where they are staying and who they are interacting with by feeling the essence of the local culture in everything they experience. For this reason, every Andaz hotel hosts Andaz Salon events that bring together local cultural influencers, artists and residents, providing a way for guests to plug into the local community and engage with like-minded people.
Each Andaz hotel also has a specific section on the website carefully detailing the cultural activities organised by the hotel. In Andaz Amsterdam, for example, we offer a complimentary 1 hour guided bike tour in the summer that allows our guests to see the beautiful city for themselves and blend in with local residents. We also have a dedicated video art collection that explores more than 40 original works of art created by up-and-coming artists.
Pictured above is Amsterdam (Image source: Andaz Amsterdam Facebook Page)
OPR: In 2013, Skift touted Andaz to be the ‘social hotel of the future’. Is that where you are today?
Eric: We’d certainly like to think so. At Andaz and at Hyatt, every decision we make is rooted in empathy and understanding. A big part of this is investing in the local communities in which we operate. One example is that of Andaz West Hollywood announcing a collaboration with (RED) – the AIDS organization founded by Bono and Bobby Shriver. We have created new Andaz REDCabanas that are available to book at five Andaz hotel locations in the US and Latin America. A proportion of each booking goes directly to support (RED)’s fight to end AIDS. For more information visit https://www.hyatt.com/collection/andaz-red
OPR: What does it take to really represent the local culture in a hotel, especially in the big cities where you are?
Eric: For Andaz it is nothing but natural to represent the local culture and imparting local knowledge to our guests. Andaz London Liverpool Street for example partnered with very talented street artists from their East London neighborhood to bring the local culture into the guest rooms. The artists created beautiful artworks on the guestrooms walls. The “room with a view” project offered a fresh take on life in East London demonstrating the hotel’s firm roots connected to its local neighbourhood and heritage.
Pictured above is a room in Andaz London Liverpool Street
(Image source: Andaz London Liverpool Street Facebook Page)
OPR: What about other environmental factors? In 2014, Hyatt committed to measurable and actionable use of resources across its properties (Hyatt Vision 2020). How can we see this adopted in Andaz hotels today?
Eric: At Hyatt, our purpose is to care for people so that they can be their best. Our purpose inspires how we engage with our guests, colleagues, owners and communities, and makes a definitive statement about the difference we are trying to make in the world. Our Hyatt Vision 2020 – our set of environmental goals for the year 2020 – is a significant aspect of this.
We aim to implement this environmental vision across all Hyatt hotels, including the Andaz brand. To give just two examples within the Andaz hotels themselves: Andaz London recently entered into a collaboration with Quimera Energy (QE) by utilizing QE’s Monitor & Save service. This aims to significantly cut energy and gas expenditure, by monitoring and managing hotel consumption in real time. Our Andaz hotel in Amsterdam has likewise been awarded a Green Globe certification for its efforts to reduce energy and water consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, and waste sent to landfills.
OPR: Are these the sustainable factors that the Andaz team took into consideration to conceptualize and build an Andaz hotel?
Eric: Alongside our environmental work, the global Hyatt brand and localized Andaz hotels are investing in the communities in which we operate. They are the places where our colleagues live, our guests visit, and our owners invest. Quite simply, they are the places that we call home.
To give an Andaz-specific example: only last month, Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort announced that it is celebrating its commitment to sustainability on National Biodiesel Day through its partnership with Pacific Biodiesel. As a consequence, ‘Awili Spa and Salon now incorporates locally sourced sunflower oil into all treatments, the resort is planning to incorporate the Maui sunflower oil into its dining venues and the resort recycles hundreds of gallons of renewable fuel to Pacific Biodiesel weekly. In this way, we simultaneously aim to help protect the environment and allow our guests to experience the resort’s sustainability efforts.
Pictured above is Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort (Image source: Andaz Maui Facebook Page)
OPR: Is guest feedback effective? Has Andaz made conscious changes over the last few years based on anything a guest has said or recommended?
Eric: An integral part of the Andaz brand is to focus on the individualised guest experience. We believe that listening and responding to guest feedback is vital element of this. We regularly monitor and answer reviews on key travel websites to gain valuable insights into how our guests’ found their stay.
We also believe that it is the small gestures of hospitality that provide much added value. Andaz hotels were one of the first to offer a selection of free minibar items as we know from guest interaction that complimentary items can do much to boost a guest’s stay.
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