Sunday, March 31, 2019

Branding and strategy: Head of European Marketing at Hyatt


Henny Frazer, Ex-Director of Brands EAME & SWA, Hyatt Hotels

One of my pleasures is meeting up with an old friend after a long absence. It was great to meet Henny after all these years. Henny has been living in Zurich, Switzerland for the last five years and I have been living in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, for ten.

We met up at The Ivy Chelsea Garden, on the King's Road, which was appropriate for several reasons;

First, it used to be a Dive bar called Henry J Beans that we hung out at when we were young. The restaurant and we have 'grown up' over the years...

Secondly, it's a unique restaurant and Henny is an expert on them. Hospitality is her business; Specifically, luxury travel and hotels.

Henny Frazer, Ex-head of branding of Hyatt Hotels, Second from the left


My experience of branding comes mainly from working with agencies and corporate communications teams. My sector is fast-growing tech companies. Henny has worked with well-established luxury brands.

From a marketing perspective, we are at opposite ends of the spectrum. But I'm fascinated by branding. And who could deny Henny's undeniable talent for branding and strategy?

We both had travelled around India with a friend for several months when we were younger, and we talked about that first. Henny was in the south, in Goa. I was up in the North at Manali. We had both gone to the famous 'full moon' parties (In Goa in the winter and Manali in the summer).

The internet is a double edged sword; in some ways it's helped to strengthen and give new dimensions to certain marque brands. In other ways, it has commoditized a host of products. 

Price comparison sites have hammered the hotel business, in the same way, it's eaten into margins in the airline industry. A race to the bottom has ensued. The hotel business has also been threatened by disruptive technologies like Air BnB.

Henny talked about this and her work to try to distinguish brands so that they captured strong positive emotions and loyalty, which is falling amongst customers generally.

Andaz Hotel, Delhi



I was eager to find out more and asked Henny for examples. Henny told me a great story about her marketing initiative for the Andaz Delhi. Many hotels are having the same conversation; We are glamorous, we cater for your every need, we are beautiful and so on...

Connecting with the young and fashionable in Delhi




Henny had a different idea to really connect the hotel with the history and culture of Delhi, including the new young hip culture growing in the city. The main message for the Andaz brand is:

‘Arrive a Visitor, Depart a Local’

Why 401 Reasons? It’s simple - Andaz Delhi has 401 guestrooms. Every room has its own reason,
which is defined in the book.

In addition, as you enter each guestroom or suite, you will also find a unique piece of art, illustrating each reason.

The book covers a range of subjects from art and architecture to local delicacies, nature and shops. They produced the book with reasons like:

Reason 161 - Lassi                     
'Lassi is the much-loved yoghurt drink enjoyed all over  India. The sweet-tart drink is consumed in vast quantities in Delhi and may be served in fine hand-etched silver and brass cups, or terracotta tumblers and even plastic cups.'

Then the book would be left open at this page, for guests staying in room 379. Here's a link to the booklet.

She changed the conversation and managed to develop a deeper more significant bond with Hyatt customers in the process.

We covered such a wide range of subjects at lunch. But I think my favourites were: 

Grand Hyatt which has a powerful ‘Living Grand’ message and the Hyatt Centric brand which offers a springboard to discover a city. I enviously had seen footage of Henny at a Flow Rida concert at Hyatt Centric Chicago Magnificent Mile. 

Or the Hotel Du Louvre in which she, with the hotel team, worked on the rebranding of this hotel as it is has become part of the Unbound Collection by Hyatt. This hotel is all about slowing down and really becoming inspired by Paris.

They worked with a great illustrator and have produced a cute cartoon announcing the re-opening of the hotel.


No comments: