How Hyatt Regency Savannah is Keeping up With the Foodies

By Juliana Shallcross Founder, Trips and Giggles | August 21, 2016

Hyatt Regency Savannah is embracing the city's exciting foodie scene with a vibrant new restaurant concept that will give guests an authentic dining experience and an up close view of Savannah's riverfront, while at the same time, will meet the day-to-night needs of the modern traveler.

For the past few years, hotels have begun modernizing their offerings for a new type of traveler-one that's readily plugged in (sometimes literally with their smartphone in hand) to the newest trends in design, technology, food, and experiences. This traveler expects far more from their hotel than just a comfortable bed at night. They want the hotel to embody the spirit of the destination they are visiting, from the moment they check-in to the moment they check-out.

Yet these thoroughly modern guests also want the hotel to tick off all the right boxes when it comes to dining, amenities, and convenience. This can be a tall order for any hotel, even a newly built hotel, but for hotels that were constructed before the rise of this hyper-connected traveler, figuring out how to physically adapt their existing spaces for guests' rapidly-changing behaviors can be tough. But not impossible as evidenced by the plans in place at Hyatt Regency Savannah.

The hotel recently celebrated its 35th anniversary with a full renovation of all its 351 guest rooms, adding enhanced guest room WiFi, plus a new modern decor that was inspired by and complements the city's dramatic and artistic personality. The crisp and clean color palate of greys, smokey indigo and citron green evokes the shimmering contrasts along the streets of Savannah's historic district that are laced with slivery Spanish Moss trees. In addition, guests enjoy new carpeting, window treatments, soft seating with upholstery that includes subtle metallic touches, plus new bathroom vanities, showers, lighting, bed sets, and TVs. Specially commissioned artwork in the rooms consist of a series of bicycles capturing the spirit of Savannah. And the design of black iron lighting in the room's sconces, night stand lamps, and ceiling lights evoke the wrought iron gates of "Old Savannah."

Dan Johnson, the hotel's general manager, said the new look was due in part to the need to keep up with the new supply of rooms that have come online in Savannah in recent years. "It reminded us that we have to stay fresh and current," Johnson said.

The need to stay competitive also coincided with an interesting change in Savannah's tourism business.

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Coming up in June 2019...

Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.