It’s a dog eat dog world out there among hotels for humans. By that I mean, hotel chains have been vying for new business in new markets like never before, from the AC Hotel Bourbon to Hyatt’s new offering, Hyatt Centric.
Hyatt Centric, launching this year, is a chain of hotels in major cities that cater primarily to millennials. Or as Hyatt calls them, “Modern Explorers,” though I’d like to think that Lewis and Clark would have stayed in Hyatts on their way to the Pacific as well, had Hyatt been on its game in the early 1800s. The Hyatt Centric promo video shows a trendy sequence of saddlebags and mustaches, all the while noting that it will be a hip place to “imbibe” on “craft cocktails” and experience the most “eclectic” of accommodations. Looks pretty cool! (If you were wondering, Lewis and Clark used saddlebags with their horses, another reason they would have stayed there. But did not have mustaches, surprisingly.)
“Centric” does a few things for Hyatt. It implies a hub, a place that is not only in the “middle of the action” in cities like New York, Paris, and Atlanta, but also a place to hang out in and of itself, either in the bar and restaurant (which will serve food and drink authentic to the region) or “The Corner,” a place to work and converse. Hyatt wants to give you everything you need to make Centric your base camp and your home away from home, giving you a city-specific experience that barely requires leaving the building. The name also suggests a high level of quality and attention paid to the particular city, as “–centric” the suffix means “focused” and can be appended to more or less to anything. I’m not sure if they will use this construction, but they could have their Chicago-Centric hotel, Boston-Centric, LA-Centric, Et Cetera Centric. Also, most subtly, the name hints at “eccentric,” which is not a bad association in this context either.
But Centric, for all its super-suite and spot-on messages, didn’t do it for me in the tonality department. Latinate names feel older and slower, as would be appropriate for engineering, B2B tech, or consulting–companies that want to induce an established, straightforward, and textbook-smarts feel. In this burgeoning world of modern, hip-hip-hotels, the name just doesn’t feel sufficiently new and exciting. It is a name whose tonality doesn’t align with the experience of the product, which is very important in crafting a successful brand. Especially since “Hyatt” already carries all the respect and weighty, established feel they need, I would have encouraged them to adopt a livelier name for this venture. Put simply, when I travel to a new city, I usually don’t want to fall asleep immediately upon getting to my hotel.
All in all, though the name passes inspection (no bugs in the meaning), it could be more exciting.
Grade: B –