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Loyalty Program is the Third Most Important Factor when Choosing a Hotel, After Hotel Quality and Location According to Global Hotel Alliance Research

Global Hotel Alliance (GHA), the world’s largest alliance of independent hotel brands, 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 program – GHA DISCOVERY – which launched in 2010.

The What Travellers Want Most From Loyalty Programs 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 programs.

For GHA, an alliance of 40 brands with more than 800 hotels in 100 countries, marking two decades of success, the report gives its program a ‘health check’, exploring how members value its offering versus competitor programs 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 program benefits (90%) are nearly as essential, followed by customer service (88%).

Perk up

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

Upgrades reign

Almost three-quarters (70%) of respondents say room upgrades are the program 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 program, 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 program and half considering it more unique than other hotel loyalty programs. 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 program, 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 program’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 programs 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.

Please find the direct link to the full report here.

This article was originally published by Hotel News Resource on 25th April 2024. View original.

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