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Travellers strongly demanding to be rewarded not just for nights stayed but also for spend reveals global study

Chris Hartley

UAE headquartered Global Hotel Alliance embraces consumer demand for more flexibility with the introduction of the industry’s first digital rewards currency.


DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – The reimagination of GHA DISCOVERY is officially launched, meeting the needs of modern travellers with more rewards, recognition and opportunities to experience hotels and resorts at home or away. Operated by the UAE headquartered Global Hotel Alliance (GHA), the programme, which embraces new travel and lifestyle trends, encompasses more than 500 hotels across 35 brands in 85 countries; (23 properties across 7 brands in the UAE alone); and serves more than 11 million members. It will expand its reach further when NH Hotels Group joins in 2022, adding another 360 hotels.

An extensive GHA member feedback study and new consumer behaviour showed that travellers are asking to be rewarded instantly and fairly, not just for nights stayed but also for spend, in a clear and straightforward way. Today’s consumers like to feel part of the community and the chance to enjoy hotel experiences close to home. GHA DISCOVERY is modelled around three member-centric concepts: a new digital rewards currency, DISCOVERY Dollars (D$); Recognition, with more tiers and multiple ways to progress and benefits from the first stay; and Live Local, inviting members into the hotels even without a stay, through offers and experiences
from pool access to spa days to dining and more.

Today’s discerning guests want to be recognised and rewarded instantly, wherever they travel and for whatever they spend, and GHA DISCOVERY now offers this flexibility, with the introduction of the industry’s first digital rewards currency, DISCOVERY Dollars, enabling members to earn from their very first stay and redeem on future stays for in-hotel spend, from room to dining and spa or golf. With frequent local trips also the new norm due to ongoing pandemic-related travel restrictions, our new programme is more accessible and generous, rewarding members at hotels closer to home,” said GHA CEO Chris Hartley.

Beyond rewards and benefits, GHA DISCOVERY better leverages the emerging role of hotels and resorts as community and lifestyle hubs, tapping into consumer appetite for connection to people and places and encouraging them to spend locally, giving a much-needed boost to the hospitality sector and local economies.

With the launch of DISCOVERY Dollars pumping some D$75 million (worth the equivalent in US$) into circulation globally in 2022, members will be motivated to spend, and GHA anticipates the introduction of the digital rewards currency will generate some US$1.5 billion in room revenue alone.

Ultimately, the new GHA DISCOVERY programme will help the revival of popular international destinations while building local travel communities,” said Hartley. “We are taking a very forward-looking approach to loyalty, not only meeting the needs of today’s consumers but giving them a good reason to spend, supporting the organic rebound of travel and hospitality as a key part of the global economic revival in 2022.”

Unique hotel, resorts & palaces with culture and community at their heart GHA DISCOVERY is also one of the most diverse loyalty programmes globally, featuring 35 distinct brands that offer unique hospitality experiences. With NH Hotel Group joining GHA in early 2022, adding 360 additional hotels in 30 countries across three brands – NH Hotels, NH Collection and nhow – members will have even more choice, plus the chance to earn and redeem at more than 800 properties worldwide.

Ultra-luxurious hotels and resorts in GHA’s Ultratravel Collection are part of this offering, with its portfolio of best-in-class properties in sought-after destinations, including remote islands and off-the-beaten-track locations, appealing to traveller demand for bespoke luxury travel experiences where privacy, social distancing and a sustainable approach to tourism is preferred.

This conscious travel movement, accelerated by the pandemic and embraced by GHA and its hotel brands, with an onus on giving back to communities and the environment, is reflected in a special promotion to mark the relaunch of GHA DISCOVERY. Applicable to member bookings made on the GHA DISCOVERY website or mobile app between 8th and 31st December 2021 for travel completed by 30 th June 2022. GHA DISCOVERY will contribute US $1 per booking to charities supported by alliance brands encompassing multiple causes, including programmes dedicated to education for children, healthcare and social wellbeing, environmental protection and animal welfare.

Tatiana Rokou

Tatiana is the news coordinator for TravelDailyNews Media Network (, and Her role includes monitoring the hundreds of news sources of TravelDailyNews Media Network and skimming the most important according to our strategy.

She holds a Bachelor's degree in Communication & Mass Media from Panteion University of Political & Social Studies of Athens and she has been editor and editor-in-chief in various economic magazines and newspapers.