(Posted 12th October 2022)
- Revenues generated by members of the GHA DISCOVERY loyalty programme during the first nine months of 2022 reach 84% of pre-pandemic levels at over US$900 million
- Average length of stay jumps 20% year on year
- August proves to be the alliance’s second strongest-performing month ever, led by travel to destinations in Europe and Asia
UAE-headquartered Global Hotel Alliance, the world’s largest alliance of independent hotels brands, has reported a stellar nine-month performance that has exceeded its most optimistic forecasts, with total revenue generated by the 22 million members of its GHA DISCOVERY loyalty programme of over US $900 million, up 68% on 2021 and reaching 84% of pre-pandemic (2019) levels on a like for like basis.
A combination of higher average rates and a 20% increase in average length of stay globally from January to September versus the same period in 2021, driven by pent-up demand for leisure travel being unleashed, have contributed to the performance boost.
The top three countries for GHA DISCOVERY member stays during the period were all strong leisure destinations: namely, the Maldives, Thailand and the UAE, while the most-visited cities were again Dubai (a further 48% growth in stays over 2021), followed by Singapore and Bangkok.
The most visible signs of a post-pandemic travel rebound were reported for Phuket and Bangkok, Thailand with 535% and 345% growth in revenues respectively compared to 2021, followed by Honolulu, Hawaii with 305% and London, UK, with 300% growth. Despite the ongoing disruption to air travel and the effect of pandemic-related restrictions, more than 60% of GHA DISCOVERY revenues came from international stays, with this proportion growing strongly over the summer months. Nevertheless, domestic stays remained very important in some markets, either because of travel restrictions or a continuing appetite for staycations, with over 90% of Chinese member spending and 88% of Indian member spending being in their home countries. In contrast, the highest-spending international travellers came from the USA (US$76 million), UK (US$71m) and Germany (US$60m), representing over a quarter of total revenues.
The reimagination of the GHA DISCOVERY loyalty programme, launched in December 2021, which introduced the industry’s first digital rewards currency, DISCOVERY DOLLARS (D$), redeemable on stays at any GHA hotel brand property, also bumped up revenues. From January to September, GHA issued D$55 million of rewards (same value in US$) to members, who can use them to pay for stays at any GHA property around the world, further driving repeat bookings.
“Our 2022 performance to date has exceeded all expectations, not only demonstrating travel’s enduring attraction, as it bounces back from the pandemic, but the success of our growth strategy, underpinned by the reinvention of GHA DISCOVERY and the addition of new hotel brand partners to our alliance,” said GHA CEO Chris Hartley.
“With D$ redemptions giving repeat and cross-brand stays a huge boost, we are delivering more new revenue streams to our hotel brands. Typically, these redemptions are being used as part-payment for a guest’s total bill, and overall our brands are witnessing an average 17 times return on investment from the new programme, a 21% lift compared to ROI delivered by the former version of our loyalty programme”, he added.
The 2022 summer holiday season was another performance driver, with August proving the alliance’s second-strongest month ever, delivering revenues just shy of March 2019’s record performance.
The average length of stays across all markets globally increased further in Q3 2022 versus the same period in 2021. Europe (64% increase in length of stay), Oceania (31%) and the Middle East (11%) were the top performing regions.
Compounding the rebound impact, Madrid-headquartered NH Group joined GHA in June, bringing with it over 350 hotels and 10 million loyalty programme members. Total GHA DISCOVERY member stays increased by 74% in Q3 2022 versus the same period in 2021. The most popular destination countries for cross-border summer travel were Spain, US, Germany, Italy and Thailand.
Hartley concluded: “With the leisure travel rebound accelerating into Q4, business travel steadily on the up, evidenced in revenues from our major corporate accounts recovering to 81% of 2019 levels by the end of Q3, and with more D$ going into circulation, we are confident of a positive outlook for the full-year 2022 and heading into 2023‘.