Source: Global Hotel Alliance (GHA)

Following Minor Hotel Group and Pan Pacific Hotels Group becoming new shareholders at the end of last year, Global Hotel Alliance ("GHA"), the world's largest alliance of independent hotel brands and operator of the award-winning, multi-brand loyalty programme, DISCOVERY, today revealed another strong performance in 2018, as it embarks on a year of activities to mark its 15th anniversary.

Overall like-for-like room-revenue produced by its DISCOVERY loyalty programme members increased by over 10% to US$1.6 billion, of which cross-brand revenue (i.e. revenue produced by members who enrolled at one brand and then stayed at another) grew 17% to reach US$108 million. In the best performing hotels, the DISCOVERY programme is now producing more than half of total room-nights sold and adding up to 8% in incremental occupancy from cross-brand customers.

The rise in revenues was driven largely by a further 21% growth in DISCOVERY membership, which reached 13.6 million members by the end of 2018. Six million of those members reside in North America, but there was strong growth in Asia (now 2.3 million members), Europe (2.2 million) and more stellar growth in Australasia (1.3 million).

In 2018 elite tier customers (DISCOVERY Black- and Platinum-level members) represented 2.6% of the active member database but produced US$400 million.

GHA's CEO, Chris Hartley feels the alliance is reaching maturity, but still has significant growth potential: "In an industry that consolidated faster than ever in 2018, our alliance's performance demonstrated that there is a well-established and attractive alternative global platform for brands wishing to remain independent. We offer the scale and reach of the mega-players at a lower cost, while leaving our member brands to build their own individual identities. We believe we are now the natural choice for the independent brand sector."

In terms of channel, more DISCOVERY members booked direct than ever before with a 24% growth in rooms revenue booked on discoveryloyalty.com. The new DISCOVERY app saw a 100% increase in bookings to over $1m a month. DISCOVERY members who booked direct did so at a rate premium of 47% over the average DISCOVERY rate, which was despite the popular 10% direct booking discount benefit launched in 2017, that is now available in most of the 500 hotels participating in the DISCOVERY programme.

Local Experiences, DISCOVERY's innovative rewards, are now more widely embraced by members than ever before. 2018 saw a further 25% growth in Black- and a 37% growth in Platinum-level Local Experience redemptions respectively.

In terms of destination performance, Dubai led the way with 26% growth in cross-brand bookings, while London, helped by a weak pound, was up 20%; and Bangkok continues to attract travellers from around the world and saw 15% growth.

While 87 new hotels joined the DISCOVERY portfolio in 2018, the three most popular hotels booked on the DISCOVERY website in 2018 were Pan Pacific Singapore, Hotel Adlon Kempinski Berlin and Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort in Honolulu.

About Global Hotel Alliance (GHA)

Global Hotel Alliance (GHA) brings together a unique collection of independent hospitality brands with GHA DISCOVERY, a multi-brand loyalty programme leveraging a shared technology platform. Through membership in GHA, brands expand their global reach, drive incremental revenue, and reduce dependence on third-party channels, all while maintaining management independence and individual positioning. GHA represents a collection of 40 brands with more than 800 hotels in 100 countries serving 21 million members. The award-winning GHA DISCOVERY programme generates approximately $2 billion in revenue and more than eight million room nights annually. GHA's brands currently include Anantara, Araiya, Avani, Campbell Gray, Capella, Corinthia, Discovery Destinations, Divani, Doyle, Elewana, Fauchon, GLO, JA Resorts, Kempinski, Leela, Lungarno, Marco Polo, Mysk, NH Hotels, NH Collection, nhow, Niccolo, Nikki Beach, NUO, Oaks, Outrigger, Pan Pacific, PARKROYAL COLLECTION, PARKROYAL, Patina, The Residence by Cenizaro, Shaza, Sukhothai, Sun International, Tivoli, Ultratravel Collection and Viceroy. For more information, visit globalhotelalliance.com.

About GHA DISCOVERY

Launched in 2010, GHA DISCOVERY is the world's largest loyalty programme for independent hotel brands, featuring more than 800 hotels, resorts and palaces across 40 brands. Members enjoy VIP recognition, thoughtful benefits and generous rewards at home or away. GHA DISCOVERY members earn and spend DISCOVERY Dollars (D$) and they also enjoy member-only Experiences curated by each hotel, plus they have access to properties close to home, without a stay, through member-only Local Offers.