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Global Hotel Alliance’s report reveals what travellers want most from loyalty programmes

Kristi Gole
GHA’s Executive Vice President Strategy, Kristi Gole.

Room upgrades considered most important hotel benefit.

DUBAI, UAE – Global Hotel Alliance (GHA) is celebrating its 20th anniversary by launching a new report revealing the perceptions, preferences and priorities of today’s travellers, leveraging the database of its global loyalty programme – GHA DISCOVERY – which launched in 2010.

The What Travellers Want Most From Loyalty Programmes report is based on Q1 2024 research conducted by GHA in collaboration with Bond Brand Loyalty, which covered a thorough review of the loyalty landscape and the key trends shaping it, and surveyed 5,662 GHA DISCOVERY members, most of which are active in other major loyalty programmes.

For GHA, an alliance of 40 brands with more than 800 hotels in 100 countries, marking two decades of success, the report gives its programme a ‘health check’, exploring how members value its offering versus competitor programmes and asking what further enhancements they would like to see, with variances by membership tier and across markets also identified.

The report’s key findings include:

Quality counts

When selecting a hotel, almost all members want reassurance that their hotel is of good quality (97% say that’s most important) and in a convenient location (92%). Loyalty programme benefits (90%) are nearly as essential, followed by customer service (88%).

Perk up

Members seek a programme that provides consistent access to perks and benefits (60% of those surveyed), followed by the number of hotels and locations in the programme (57%) and ease of earning/redeeming rewards (50%).

Upgrades reign

Almost three-quarters (70%) of respondents say room upgrades are the programme benefit most important to them. They are also hungry for complimentary breakfast during their stays – the second most important benefit and a new perk GHA DISCOVERY is rolling out at select brands in 2024.

Decidedly D$

Members prefer DISCOVERY Dollars to traditional points, saying they are easier to understand and redeem – with D$1 = US$1 and put toward the bill at any hotel in the programme, to use against room, dining or spa expenses, as well as toward curated experiences. Looking ahead they are interested in expanded options to earn and spend the rewards, such as through partnerships with restaurants and airlines.

 A love for luxury

GHA DISCOVERY continues to own the perception of luxury in the hotel loyalty space, with four in five members viewing it as a luxury programme and half considering it more unique than other hotel loyalty programmes. Members in the UK, India, Thailand, China and the UAE are most likely to view GHA DISCOVERY as a luxurious proposition.

Top trends by market

Members in Singapore, Thailand and China say access to benefits and perks are most important when selecting a loyalty programme, while those in Spain, India, the US, Australia and Germany are more interested in the number of hotels and locations available.

In China, the perception of a programme’s generosity is far more important than in other markets (35% versus 21%). In contrast, generosity is the least valued by members in India, where instead they seek programmes that make them feel valued and important (45% versus 36%) while having higher expectations for customer service (32% versus 22%).

“In celebrating two decades of GHA’s success, our latest report confirms what our members value most and it’s clear that quality of accommodation, room upgrades, transparent rewards, and seamless experiences are paramount,” said GHA’s Executive Vice President Strategy, Kristi Gole.

Since launching in 2010, GHA DISCOVERY has grown to over 26 million members, who generated $2.3 billion in revenue and 10 million room nights in 2023. Recent milestones include:

  • A reimagination with the launch of DISCOVERY Dollars (D$) in 2021
  • NH Hotel Group joining the alliance in 2022, enhancing the GHA offering with 350 properties in 30 countries across three brands
  • The 2023 launch of Green Collection, empowering members to make conscious travel choices

GHA has diversified its loyalty offering with two new partnerships too, joining forces with ultra-luxury cruise line Regent Seven Seas Cruises in 2023 to reward cruisers with D$ and status, and vacation rental platform Plum Guide in March this year, rewarding members who book one of 38,000 remarkable vacation homes.

 

 

GHA- What Travellers Want Most From Loyalty Programmes
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Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.

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