The HU High Five (E5) - Jeff Bzdawka

June 8, 2020
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Rich Siegel Talks with Jeff Bzdawka, Senior Vice President of Global Hotel Technology at Hyatt, to Find Out What it’s Like for a Major Hotel Chain to Confront a Global Pandemic.

Ever wonder what it’s like in the corporate boardroom of a major hotel chain as a pandemic descends on the world and shuts an entire industry down? Hospitality Upgrade's President and Publisher Rich Siegel gets the answer to this and other compelling questions in this week's edition of The HU High Five, with Hyatt Hotels Senior Vice President of Global Hotel Technology, Jeff Bzdawka.
 
"It just got worse than any of us could have ever anticipated. We have never seen this level of drop in demand ... we went from trying to salvage some level of profitability straight to looking at ways to ensure liquidity and staying power," said Bzdawka.
 
Siegel and Bzdawka discuss the broad scope and tremendous impact the virus has had on Hyatt Hotels. “We have over 900 hotels in our portfolio … at the peak we had about a third of our hotels closed,” he said, "but now all of the hotels in China are reopened,” he continued. He said the company expects to have all of their hotels back and operating within the next 45-60 days, with the decision to reopen being largely economic. 
 
The two also discuss the future of human interaction in hospitality, and they highlight new and innovative technology solutions that will help bring customers back to travel, with safety and comfort being at the forefront of the resurgence. The decision to upgrade or implement new technology is a joint effort. Priorities are different post-pandemic, and Bzdawka says, “Hyatt is working very closely with their owners and being sensitive to their needs,” but he said “several owners are still very interested in moving forward with plans including the installation of mobile key, or upgrading guest wi-fi experiences.”
 
When it comes to the subject of guests having a completely contactless experience going forward in the industry, Bzdawka says "We are in the hospitality industry … with Hyatt, our purpose is caring for people so they can be their best, and part of that care is enabling choice … I don’t think you’ll ever replace the human touch, and I believe we … will come back to that personal interaction. It’s about finding a balance ... and enabling choice and comfort," explained Bzdawka.



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