Hyatt’s Acquisition of Miraval has the potential to mark a “tipping point” for both the destination spa sector and the ever-expanding definition of hospitality brands. The press release announcing the acquisition quotes several key pieces of data from research conducted by the Global Wellness Institute, an industry think tank, regarding the size of the wellness travel market and its integration in all key segments of travelers: leisure, corporate, and group and meeting.
Specific to the destination spa market, integration with a major hospitality brand may be the impetus that has been missing in recent years to speed growth of the sector. That is, despite new sources of capital from major investment funds having being infused into destination spa brands such as Miraval, Canyon Ranch, Banyan Tree and Six Senses, these leading and well respected brands have not opened more than one or two wellness destination resorts per year. One must assume that Hyatt has a much more effective opportunity screening, development, and pre-opening process than the best destinations spa brands, simply because it is exercised several dozen times per year within the company’s upper-upscale and luxury brands.
And, of course, the opportunity is greater than just expanding distribution of destination spas. If the acquisition is leveraged so that Miraval becomes the wellness and mindfulness “center of excellence” within Hyatt, the impact on Park Hyatt, Grand Hyatt, Hyatt Regency, Andaz and Unbound Collection properties can be significant. These brands’ properties have evolved from hotels with fitness rooms to hotels with gym and spa facilities, and now to hotels and resorts with industry-leading wellness programming.
Taking the potential implications even further, Hyatt noted in the press release that impacts will be felt in programming beyond the hotel. Given the frequency and scale of travel and transportation industry disruption in recent years, this acquisition can assist Hyatt in what is shaping up to be a fundamental transformation for global hospitality brands, leaving a past in which they were managers of hotel real estate with hospitality service skills, to a future in which they will be companies that offer branded travel experiences with a network of outlets, products and services, ever attempting to increase their involvement in the lives of their customers.
Andrew Cohan is the Managing Director for Horwath HTL primarily serving the Sunbelt States and the Caribbean Basin, based in Miami. Horwath HTL has been operating for 100 years in the hospitality consulting space with expertise in valuation and feasibility studies, resort hotel and resort real estate consulting, asset management and tourism and leisure consulting.
A seasoned hospitality professional with extensive real estate, marketing and account management skills in North America and Latin America, Andrew has consulted for projects with leading branded management companies such as Canyon Ranch, Six Senses, Montage, Auberge and Alila.
Andrew has extensive experience in the wellness and sustainability space, especially as it pertains to resort properties. He especially enjoys working on ground-up projects, teaming with land planners to determine the optimal resort configuration to fit market demand with destination and site attributes, and helping land owners assemble their development teams.
As health and wellness have moved from the margins of the industry to become important components of mainstream hospitality projects, Andrew’s expertise has been in demand to conduct an increasing number of assignments for proposed sustainable wellness resort properties, particularly as the industry continues to strengthen in Central America, the Caribbean, Mexico and the “sunbelt states” in the United States. As the focus changes from the hotel product to the hotel experience, “property personality sharpening” through programming rather than capital expenditures has become one of the consultancy’s strengths. He has written numerous articles on topics ranging from Miami’s continuing growth to topics of interest in eco-tourism, active adventure tourism, and wellness tourism.
Prior to Horwath HTL, Andrew spent nine years with HVS’s Miami office. During his tenure there, Andrew earned his MAI designation from the Appraisal Institute, and holds Certified General Real Estate Appraiser and Real Estate Broker Associate licenses in the State of Florida. He has a Masters degree in Business Administration (M.B.A.) from the University of Pittsburgh, and a Masters in Hospitality Management from Florida International University, in addition to a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Tulane University. He is a member of the International Society of Hospitality Consultants (ISHC), the Urban Land Institute (ULI) and the Global Wellness Institute.
Prior to joining HVS, Cohan rose through the ranks at AT&T, serving in their Latin America Wholesale Markets Division, managing a team with personnel in four countries, and having responsibility for maintaining tens of millions of dollars of annual revenue.