During the general session at Hyatt Hotels and Resorts' 2009 Insurance and Financial Business Exchange in late July, Gus Vonderheide, vice president of group sales for Hyatt Hotels & Resorts, briefed attendees — about 100 meeting planners and suppliers at the Hyatt Regency Monterey Resort and Spa in Monterey, Calif.— on the company's new initiatives and hotel openings.

  • The chain’s two-year-old Andaz brand, which now has two properties (one in London and one in West Hollywood, Calif.), will open two more later this year. Both are going up in New York City, on Fifth Avenue and Wall Street. The Andaz brand is marked by personalized service and meeting space for smaller groups.
  • Proving you can still get something for nothing, the chain has launched a “Random Acts of Generosity” program, which allows Hyatt employees to surprise guests by picking up the tab for their dinner, making their stay complimentary at check-in, or even waiving the bill for a spa treatment. Talk about a pleasant surprise!
  • In addition, Hyatt is offering 6 percent off the master account for groups who book a minimum of 10 guest rooms for a meeting conducted by March 31, 2010. And meetings held at participating Hyatt Resorts will yield a 10 percent rebate through June 30, 2010. “We can’t take the word ‘resort’ off the name, which some planners have asked us to do,” said Vonderheide, “but we can sweeten the deal.” For more information, go to www.sixpercentrebate.com.
  • The chain has also extended the deadline for its Multiple Meetings Program, which rewards planners for booking two or more large meetings at one time. Meetings must consist of 200 or more peak room nights, be booked by June 30, 2010, and be conducted by the end of 2015. Planners receive complimentary extras for their groups based on the number of meetings booked in advance. For more details and a list of rewards, go to www.hyattlargemeetings.com.