(Posted 24th May 2022)
Hotel brands in the UAE and Maldives dominate revenues; spend per stay and average length of stay exceed pre-pandemic levels, and domestic stays bounce back to 2019 volumes
UAE-headquartered Global Hotel Alliance (GHA), the world’s largest alliance of independent hotel brands, has reported a strong resurgence in Q1 room revenues, showing increased momentum for travel recovery.
The UAE and the Maldives dominated revenues during the first three months of the year, with GHA hotel brand properties in those markets commanding average room revenue (ARR) per stay of US$1,270 and $8,530 respectively, compared to the global average of $670.
Ten hotels out of more than 500 globally in GHA DISCOVERY, GHA’s award-winning loyalty programme, accounted for one-third of total Q1 room revenues. Six out of those 10 were located in Dubai and the Maldives, with their room revenues accounting for 14.4% and 8% of total GHA DISCOVERY room revenues for the period respectively.
Overall, global room revenues in Q1 2022 exceeded 60% of levels achieved in 2019, before the pandemic. Meanwhile, total revenues (room and non-room) in Q1 2022 increased by 76% in comparison to Q1 2021, driven both by an increase in room nights sold (up by 34%) and by much higher average spend per night (up by 32%).
These impressive results were achieved despite continuing constraints on international travel. Domestic stays during the first three months of the year, where a GHA DISCOVERY member stayed at a hotel in their own country of residence, rebounded to 2019 levels, while international stays only recovered to 50% of 2019 levels, reflecting the continuing travel restrictions in many markets.
Accelerated demand for luxury leisure travel, following two years of pandemic-related restrictions, generated phenomenal surges in spending, with GHA DISCOVERY hotels achieving Average Daily Rates (ADRs) that were 78% higher than in Q1 2021 and 14% higher than in Q1 2019.
“What’s abundantly clear from the Q1 results is that travel is seeing an encouraging recovery,” said GHA CEO Chris Hartley. “Following two years of travel restrictions and uncertainty, pent-up demand for leisure travel has been unleashed and GHA hotel brands, with stunning properties located in some of the world’s most desirable and open-for-business leisure destinations, are benefitting from the rebound.”
Another major factor contributing to GHA’s solid Q1 performance was the December relaunch of GHA DISCOVERY, a loyalty programme reimagined to meet the needs of today’s travellers with three concepts: DISCOVERY Dollars (D$), the industry’s first digital rewards currency, where members earn and spend D$ at any property in the GHA DISCOVERY portfolio; recognition, with more tiers, enhanced benefits, and rewards from the first stay at a wide choice of properties, including some of the world’s most luxurious hotels, resorts and palaces; and Live Local, offering ‘around-the-corner’ lifestyle experiences, offers and promotions – from spa days to dining to weekend staycations and more.
During Q1, cross-brand revenue – representing stays from members who enrol with one GHA brand and stay with another – was almost 2.5x higher than the same period in 2021. At the best-performing hotels these cross-brand customers increased occupancy by 8% and the GHA DISCOVERY programme generated more than half of total room nights sold.
Some 61% of D$ redemptions during Q1 were made on cross-brand stays, proving the new currency is encouraging members to try new brands. At the same time, with members upping their spend, and hotel brands reporting higher-than-normal ADRs, the number of D$ issued has rocketed.
“This is great news for our hotel brands, GHA DISCOVERY members and the travel and tourism economy,” added Hartley. “With more D$ in their pockets, members, we are building on the momentum of Q1 by stimulating spring and summer holiday activity and aiding the ongoing recovery for our member brands.”
GHA offers a central website and app for GHA DISCOVERY members as an extension to member brand channels and has seen great growth in its distribution in Q1, with direct bookings increasing 30% and revenue increasing 62% over 2021.
“GHA provides a solution for independent brands that helps them compete with the larger programmes without losing their identity or control, while driving channel shift to more direct, profitable business, all at a low variable cost linked to performance“, Harley concluded.
With South Africa’s leading hotel group, Sun International, joining GHA in December 2021 with 15 distinct properties and NH Hotel Group’s integration in June, the alliance’s global portfolio is growing to over 40 brands with more than 800 properties in 100 countries, and GHA DISCOVERY will have more than 20 million members by mid-2022.