Luxury Hotels

JAPAN – 7

Japan is top of every travel bucket list, it seems. It’s no wonder therefore that the Global Hotel Alliance, GHA, has chosen Tokyo for its 20th annual CEOs’ meeting – above, from left, Chris Hartley, CEO of GHA; Choe Peng Sum, CEO Pan Pacific Hotels Group; Dillip Rajakarier, CEO of Minor Hotel Group, and Masahito Namiki, President and CEO INTERBRAND Japan. The meeting was held 18-21 June 2024 at Tokyo’s conjoined 97-room Bellustar Pan Pacific and 539-room  The Groove Parkroyal hotel, in the Kabukicho Tower, Tokyo.

These two hotels have, from both the start, consistently been the most in demand in the entire system of GHA’s loyalty programme, DISCOVERY. When they opened on 2nd May 2023 there were, as the ribbon was being cut, 150 customers, bags in hand, waiting to check in. Ever since they have run consistently at near-full. Such is the power of brands, in this case DISCOVERY and Pan Pacific.

GHA now has 40 brands, mostly owner-operated, as members – they represent over 800 individual properties, plus the 40,000 home-stays of member The Plum Group. Regent Seven Sea Cruises is also a member.  The 27-million membership of DISCOVERY is a powerful and simple tool, designed by hoteliers for simplification. Instead of points, you get DISCOVERY dollars, D$. Book a hotel in the usual way and, once there, pay in D$.  On the incoming side, top market for DISCOVERY members coming to Japan is the USA, followed by Australia. Top destination for the 350,000 DISCOVERY members in Japan is Waikiki.

Yesterday the GHA meeting heard findings from Masahito Namiki, President and CEO INTERBRAND Japan. He reported that only 26% of Japanese are travelling abroad, but of those 50% plan multi trips. These travellers want new experiences, and there is strong respect for local history. What Namiki-san defines as affluents and creatives prefer independent brands to global chains. And, importantly, hotel loyalty programmes that maximise the enjoyment of travel are in demand.

Whereas on arrival the day before Tokyo experienced a day-long downpour, yesterday the sun shone marvellously. The image below was taken from a 44th floor room in the Bellustar Pan Pacific. Life looks rosy…