Hyatt has found a new boss for the decimated World of Hyatt program as they just announced the appointment of Mr. Mark Vondrasek as new executive vice president & global head of loyalty.
Hyatt’s loyalty section has been without a functioning management since Jeff Zidell left (likely not on his own terms) the company after taking much of the blame for revamping the program in a disastrous way.
It’s been a turbulent year for both Hyatt and their customers as management decided last year that it would be time for a program revamp to position the established and well regarded Gold Passport program as a top premium player in the industry, requiring much higher activity from their elite customers to keep top tier status.
Apparently Hyatt overplayed their hand more than just a little bit as they got flooded by negative customer feedback just like guests aired their frustrations with their contacts at various properties around the world.
Now the company announced in a press release (see here) they hired an experienced executive from outside the company, former head of Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) Mark Vondrasek.
Hyatt Hotels Corporation today announced the selection of Mark Vondrasek as executive vice president, global head of loyalty & new business platforms, reporting to Mark Hoplamazian, president and chief executive officer. In this newly created leadership position, Vondrasek will direct Hyatt’s integrated experience strategy, which currently includes the World of Hyatt loyalty platform as well as Hyatt’s wellness initiatives including Miraval and exhale. Vondrasek will also be charged with creating and scaling new business opportunities, products and services.
“Mark’s successful track record, working in a brand-led, global organization makes him the ideal candidate for this role,” said Hoplamazian. “We are fortunate to welcome a leader with a reputation for transformation who can accelerate Hyatt’s loyalty platform, advance innovative products and expand Hyatt’s partnerships. This work is critical to our experience-based growth strategy and will deepen the relationship we have with our existing guests as well as expand our base of customers.”
Vondrasek joins Hyatt with more than 25 years of experience in building strong brands through the effective integration of marketing and operations. Most recently, he spent 15 years in leadership roles at Starwood Hotels and Resorts, the latest of which as senior vice president and commercial services officer. In the position, Vondrasek was responsible for the Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) loyalty program, 10 customer contact centers, mobile applications, digital initiatives, business-to-business sales strategy, revenue management and sales. During his tenure at Starwood, he spearheaded many of the company’s most successful loyalty initiatives as well as oversaw Starwood’s strategic marketing partnerships.
SPG was able to build a strong relationship with their customers over the years who are very passionate about their membership and the different social options it offers to the members. Hopefully
Hyatt was lucky having found a capable new executive and should maybe keep looking for more as with the merger of Marriott and Starwood many management positions have become redundant and qualified individuals would certainly be available as many weren’t offered new positions under Marriott.
Hyatt has more issues than any company would like to have, first and foremost their disastrous IT and marketing which also entails the World of Hyatt loyalty program. Hopefully the new boss and his team are able to turn around some of the unfortunate developments that have been going on at Hyatt loyalty.