Hyatt and BTG Homeinns Unveil New Hospitality Brand Under Joint Venture

China, Shanghai. July 29, 2019

Following the pioneering joint venture announcement in February, Hyatt and BTG Homeinns Hotels Group continue to make great strides with the unveiling of a new hospitality brand on Wednesday, June 19. Leveraging the respective strengths and resources of Hyatt and Homeinns, the UrCove brand is positioned to compete in the currently underserved upper-midscale segment. UrCove is an entirely homegrown hotel brand, built specifically to meet Chinese travelers' preferences and growing expectations for a seamless, comfortable and premium travel experience in the upper-midscale market.

Announced at the China Hotels and Tourism (CHAT) conference today, UrCove, pronounced as "your cove", is a metaphorical reference to having a safe harbor for a boat while on a journey at sea. The Chinese name Yifei (逸扉) also takes on the same concept of providing comfort, assurance and an overall feeling of being at home for travelers. The logo design of the UrCove brand uses a streamlined approach—the elegant C-shaped symbol references a bay as well as waves of the vast sea. The arching details within it echo UrCove hotels being the reliable shelter, as the brand aims to provide a cozy sanctuary for travelers to recharge with excellent quality and care backed by Hyatt.

"As we commemorate our 50th year in Asia Pacific and Greater China region, we are committed to maximizing our core business to drive purposeful growth and cater to the high end travelers of every segment we serve," said Stephen Ho, president of Greater China, global operations, Hyatt. "Given China's growing economic importance and the phenomenal growth of its middle-class segment, the UrCove brand strengthens our representation in the underserved upper-midscale segment, and we believe that this locally developed brand will advance our commitment to this important market."

Data released by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of The People's Republic of China showed that domestic tourism revenue increased by 13% in 2018, bringing in a solid revenue of CNY 5.05 trillion. The growing middle-class population and a government policy to boost domestic consumption continues to ensure long-term growth for the travel and hospitality market.

"We are one step closer to fulfilling our commitment to elevate the business travel experience of the growing upper-midscale segment," said David Sun, general manager of BTG Homeinns Hotels Group, chairman & chief executive officer of Homeinns Hotel Group. "The UrCove brand is designed to better serve local consumers. By combining our extensive knowledge and vast network of the local market with Hyatt's experience in premium care and hospitality, we are on track towards setting a new benchmark for hospitality in China."

UrCove hotels will cater to the ‘Road Warriors' - a term used to identify an extension within the upper-midscale segment of frequent business travelers. These highly mobile travelers often seek out efficiency and comfort but are limited in opportunities to get the best out of their travel experience. With its population expected to reach 440 million by 2020 and continuously rising income levels, China's middle class is greatly underserved when traveling for work.

Located in highly accessible locations in gateway cities where travelers can get the best business and leisure experiences, UrCove hotels will adopt best-in-class design. Functional business space and practical amenities will allow travelers to manage work tasks while exploring their host city with ease. Leveraging Hyatt's highly renowned food and beverage excellence, UrCove hotels will also provide delicious food including a nutritious breakfast with lavish choices to ensure a whole day's energy for work, as well as group or business dinner options. The first two UrCove hotels are expected to open in Shanghai and Beijing by late 2020.

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Coming up in November 2019...

Architecture & Design: Biophilic Design

The hospitality industry is constantly evolving to meet and exceed guest expectations. As a result, hotels are always on the lookout for new ways to improve the guest experience, and architecture and design is an essential part of this equation. Bold design is often the most effective way to make an exceptional first impression - an impression guests use to distinguish between brands. One design trend that is being embraced worldwide has become known as “Biophilic Design.” Biophilic design is based on the concept of biophilia, which is the theory that human beings have an innate tendency to seek out nature, natural elements, and natural forms. Biophilic design is more than hotels simply adding a surplus of plants; it involves incorporating specific design elements into a hotel in order to imbue it with a sense of wellness and well-being. Some of those elements include exposure to natural lighting; views of nature and rooms with a view; natural architectural patterns; salvaged or reclaimed woods of all types; reclaimed metals; sustainably sourced stone; living green walls and vertical gardens; and direct and indirect exposure to nature. Hotels that have incorporated biophilic design into their properties are reaping the benefits associated with this trend including reduced stress responses, better air quality, lower energy costs, and more positive guest reviews. Biophilic design has also been shown to improve guest moods and to satisfy consumer demand for environmental responsibility. Savvy hotel owners and managers are aware that nature-inspired elements enhance their guests' comfort and well-being, which is why this trend is becoming so prevalent. Biophilic design is just one topic in the fields of hotel architecture and design that will be examined in the November issue of the Hotel Business Review.