(Posted 20th February 2023)
Total revenue hits US$1.4 billion, a 60% increase over 2021, and ahead of 2019 by Q4
UAE takes top spot as most preferred stay destination in 2022, followed by Spain and Thailand
Repeat stay revenue up almost 80% in Q4
Cross-brand revenue rockets to US$168 million in 2022, 25% ahead of 2019
Strength of recovery reflects the impact of the new GHA DISCOVERY loyalty programme, NH joining the alliance and bullish travel sentiment
UAE-headquartered Global Hotel Alliance, the world’s largest alliance of 40 independent hotels brands, has reported robust 2022 results, with every performance indicator exceeding 2019 levels by Q4 – an indication of travel’s full post-pandemic recovery.
Room revenue generated by the 23 million global members of the GHA DISCOVERY loyalty programme exceeded 2019 levels from mid-November onwards, driven by higher average daily rates (ADR), and soaring by 50% in the last two weeks of the year, while repeat stay room revenue was consistently ahead of 2019 levels from June onwards, up almost 80% by the end of 2022. Room nights, which had lagged behind earlier in the year, surpassed pre-pandemic levels by the end of Q4.
In contrast to 2021 when domestic stays dominated the travel mix due to pandemic-related restrictions and concerns, international stays by GHA DISCOVERY members picked up significantly in 2022, accelerating in Q4 to surpass 2019 levels by 40% in the December holiday period, with Singapore, the Maldives, Thailand, Mexico and the Caribbean leading this recovery. Domestic stays exceeded 2019 figures throughout most of 2022.
With the percentage of revenue attributed to international stays stabilising at 70%, the same as in 2019, demand patterns are returning to the ‘old normal’, though leisure travel now dominates.
The UAE has retained its top spot as most preferred stay destination among members, delivering US$32 million in room revenue in Q4 alone and reflecting GHA’s growing presence in the country. With the recent opening of NH’s first hotel in this market, NH Collection Dubai The Palm, there are now 28 GHA properties in the UAE under nine brands.
Spain took second slot on the ‘Top 15 Countries for Stays’ list in Q4, generating $31 million in room revenue and indicating the success of Madrid-headquartered NH Hotel Group joining GHA in June 2022, bringing with it more than 350 hotels and 10 million loyalty programme members.
The top feeder markets in Q4 were the US, delivering $43 million in room revenue, with 80% of members in this market travelling internationally, reflecting the strength of the US dollar, followed by the UK ($28 million), Spain ($26 million), Germany ($24 million) and Australia ($19 million). China, which traditionally leads in outbound traffic, came in 6th place with its domestic strength; but with travel restrictions now lifted, it could bounce back to number one in 2023.
With GHA DISCOVERY empowering members to earn and spend their digital rewards currency, DISCOVERY Dollars (D$), at any property globally, cross-brand revenue rocketed to $168 million in 2022, 25% ahead of 2019. Anantara, Kempinski and Pan Pacific Hotels Group took the lead in receiving and sending cross-brand revenues and NH Hotels contributed some $14 million revenue in stays to other brands after they joined mid-year.
Record growth was also buoyed by 1.6 million new GHA DISCOVERY member enrolments.
“GHA’s 2022 results are phenomenal, not only for our partner hotel brands, but for the global travel and tourism sector as a whole, with significant improvements across every key performance indicator pointing to a full industry recovery and perhaps the end to pre-pandemic comparisons at last,” said GHA CEO Chris Hartley before continuing: “This rebound to levels exceeding the 2019 ‘old normal’ not only reveals a bullish travel sentiment, but the true power of GHA DISCOVERY, bolstered by new hotel brands and members coming on board and with the entire eco-system fully leveraging cross-brand stay opportunities, as the figures clearly reveal.”
He then added: “The outlook for 2023 is incredibly positive as we capitalise on 2022’s gains and unleash the true potential of GHA DISCOVERY. With cross-brand revenue taking off, and millions of dollars of rewards in our customers’ virtual wallets, we have ambitious goals for driving this to new record heights to the benefit of members and brands alike.”
GHA’s robust 2022 results were supported by several milestones
In addition to NH Hotels joining the alliance, Sun International, The Set Hotels and Palazzo Versace Dubai also came on board, collectively adding 358 new hotels and 21 new cities, taking the total to more than 800 properties from 40-plus brands in 100 countries.
GHA DISCOVERY issued D$72 million (with D$1 worth US$1), and with 2 out of 3 redemptions being at a new hotel, the cross-brand revenue potential in 2023 is clear, especially since GHA brands are themselves expanding further, with plans to add up to 100 hotels between now and the end of 2024.
GHA also entered into a strategic partnership with ASMALLWORLD, the world’s leading travel and lifestyle community, with both companies becoming shareholders in each other’s businesses. GHA DISCOVERY elite members enjoy all the benefits of the ASMALLWORLD network, including events and experiences, and ASMALLWORLD members gain elite status in GHA DISCOVERY, driving more value to both programmes and more stays at GHA hotels.
“2022 was packed with landmark moments for GHA, underlined by strategic partnerships that strengthened our position as the world’s largest alliance of independent hotel brands with an innovative loyalty programme at its heart,” said Chris Hartley before concluding: “This paves the way for continued growth in 2023 as we look to expand our ecosystem with like-minded partners for mutual gain.”