Luxury Hotels


Global Hotel Alliance GHA yesterday – Monday 13th June – absorbed  Minor-owned NH into its portfolio, which is now 40 brands strong. The annual CEOs meeting, 10-12 June in Madrid, was therefore all the more significant, and powerful.

GHA’s Discovery loyalty programme, introduced in its new form 7th December 2021, has now been going long enough for algorithms to show their worth. There are a total 21 million members worldwide, led by 3.1 million Discoverers in Spain (it is hinted that Minor bought NH primarily for its loyalists). Other relevant markets are USA with 2 million members, China and Germany, both 1.8 million; 1.5 million Australia, 1.2 million UK, 1.1 million Netherlands.

Discovery includes the loyalty industry’s first ‘currency’, Discovery Dollars (D$), and already a redemption is being made every 7 minutes. Over half a million Discovery members ‘hold’ D$ (a total D$25.2 million have so far been issued)). Perhaps not surprisingly, highest-tier redeemers are elites: stay 10 nights cumulative or spend at least US$10,000 or stay at any two brands to achieve Platinum status.

The GHA meeting had two days of serious business – see the photo above. GHA CEO Chris Hartley seemed particularly pleased by the fact that about 50% of redemptions are for cross-brand stays, say an Italian who sometimes weekends at Portrait Suites Florence, Ferragamo’s Lungarno Collection, ‘pays’ with D$ for a stay at Table Bay (Sun International) in Cape Town. Overall, the introduction of D$ encourages repeats and longer stays, and last-minute getaways. It also motivates inactive travellers to discover new brands.

New GHA member brands were introduced to GHA colleagues. Jean-Luc Naret, CEO of The Set Collection, explained its owned hotels, plus The Set Collection members (Swire Hotels’ House Collective).Ramon Aragones, CEO of NH Collection, was thanked profusely for hosting business sessions at NH Collection Madrid Suecia.

Generally, the assembled company thought the hotel outlook looks rosy through 2022, but as always clouds continually threaten. Geopolitics were less confrontational than soaring inflation and supply-chain challenges. Airlift needs to work with rather than against hospitality. Bankrupt airlines, cancelled and delayed flights are not good news. The industry itself has to lead the stand on talent, B2P, Business To People. There was an impassioned call for GHA to lead the charge. Watch this space.

And watch, tomorrow, for details of other participants in Madrid, and the social programme (as a canapé, here’s a local meal in a centuries-old tavern, below).