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Today, travelers are no longer looking for just a place to stay—they’re looking for a place that is a memorable part of their trip. Customers want reliability but they also want unique, memorable and Instagrammable stays —a place that becomes as much a part of the vacation as the destination itself.

With the increase in the desire for consumers to have experiences, Hyatt, a global powerhouse with a reputation for excellent service, saw an opportunity to connect independently branded “stays” under one “soft” brand.

Having worked with us before on USA Today, Hyatt CMO Maryam Banikarim asked Wolff Olins to help design this new “soft brand”—a thread that could tie together a collection of distinctive, independent properties—while still delivering consistent quality to travelers. For owners, this new brand enables them to have the freedom to develop a unique property, free from convention and constraints, with the assurance and purchasing power of the Hyatt brand behind the scenes.

“What you’re seeing is that the idea of travel has changed, and people want to explore and have new experiences worth sharing,” explains Banikarim. “On the flipside, they want the piece of mind that comes from the quality they have come to expect from Hyatt.”

A soft brand, well-defined

Hyatt already had identified several independent properties destined for the new collection. They needed an meaningful umbrella brand that could resonate with travelers and owners/developers alike, linking these experiences and laying the groundwork for future loyal guests and partnerships.

Competitors had launched “collection” brands, but many mainly focused on physical hotel properties. Hyatt understands that the guest experience goes beyond just the hotel. This brand will be a collection of “stays” that will each have their own story to tell.

We worked together to develop a name—the Unbound Collection by Hyatt—that captured their pitch to both customers and developers.

“The use of ‘Unbound’ is really derived from the notion of freedom,” explains Banikarim. “Freedom for owners to be able to continue to operate the way that made them successful, and freedom for consumers to experience travel the way they want, but supported with Hyatt’s level of quality.”

For the visual system, a passport-style stamp logo would act as a subtle yet trusted endorsement for this collection which will have a global reach. Open-ended line illustrations invite travelers and developers to fill in the rest with their imagination.

Potential, potential, potential

Our strategy and visual system left the door open to future experiences beyond just boutique properties, from river cruises or eco-camps, offering limitless potential for growth. The concept of social currency —that a hotel is worth talking about —became a rubric for adding to the collection.

A space in the sand

Nearly simultaneously, we had a chance to put that blueprint into action.

Hyatt was in the process of purchasing the Thompson Miami Beach, an existing boutique luxury property with quirky mid-century design. They asked us to create a whole new identity that would help it stand out in the crowded Miami market, while fitting seamlessly into the Unbound Collection by Hyatt.

Using the principles we’d outlined in creating the Unbound Collection, we surfaced what made the property special—its rich history, its bold design, its playful sense of luxury. We positioned it to stand out from the South Beach crowd: an understated cool gave a feeling of being in-the-know, and a name, The Confidante, that nodded to Miami’s Golden Era.

We developed a unique brand identity staying true to the marks of Miami’s Golden Era from design cues to the color palette. From room keys to luggage tags, a more intimate, playful Confidante brand began to emerge. A coaster that says “be right back” is more than just a hint to place it on your glass when you step away from the bar—it’s a moment of surprise that makes you smile, and may just be a story you tell later (or a photo you upload now).

A bold calling card

Through the brand identity now visible on property, we are helping to enable the property’s social currency factor. By going live just weeks after we helped them launch the Unbound Collection by Hyatt, The Confidante reaffirms the promise of the brand and offers guest social currency as they stay in one of the first properties in the Unbound Collection by Hyatt.

As Banikarim explains: “The Unbound Collection by Hyatt is all about giving the properties within this brand, their guests and owners the freedom to be extraordinary.