By Jelena Kezika, Global Hotel Alliance
In just a few days, the newly enhanced GHA DISCOVERY will launch. In addition to the recently announced digital rewards currency, DISCOVERY Dollars, and new ways to earn an elite tier, we are especially excited about our new LIVE LOCAL concept - an opportunity for our members to enjoy access and benefits at our hotels, at home or away, without having to stay overnight.
Launched in 2010, our programme was built around the stay experience for business and leisure travellers. In 2019, we embarked on a research project to find out what a new generation of travellers expects from a loyalty programme. The key insight that emerged from our research was that our members spend about 338 days at home each year, with nearly 5 million
members living within 50 miles of a GHA DISCOVERY hotel. We also validated that members wanted to engage more with our programme because they love the diversity of choices offered by its 800 hotels across 40 brands in 100 countries.
The awful COVID-19 pandemic caused us to accelerate our plans to develop the LIVE LOCAL concept. First, the pandemic stopped the world in its tracks, and individuals were not able to travel. But once the lockdowns had been relaxed, people were yearning for a change of scenery in some small way. Restrictions on international travel resulted in day trips, road trips and small indulgences to local hotels and resorts for overnight stays, to work in different surroundings, or just for a lunch or dinner, spa treatment, or a round of golf. Not at least, we all realised that “slow” travel is much more sustainable for local communities and the environment.
As we were working to enhance GHA DISCOVERY, we translated the shift in consumer behaviour and travel habits into a key element of our new programme, LIVE LOCAL, where members will be rewarded at our brand hotels with or without an overnight stay. This became the strategy behind the LIVE LOCAL concept — to reflect, satisfy, and reward the prevailing consumer mindset.
The essence of LIVE LOCAL
A new world of travel calls for a new way to indulge, and GHA DISCOVERY’s LIVE LOCAL provides an occasion for members to celebrate the opportunities right on their doorstep by rediscovering their own neighbourhood and staying close to local communities. As a result, GHA DISCOVERY welcomes and promotes staycations and short bursts of relaxation and exploration within driving distance — no flights or overnight stays required.
Our diverse collection of hotels offers an array of experiences, promotions and amenities tailored to consumers’ needs, wants, and desires, which are delivered by their favourite brands and hotels with a touch of cultural diversity and individuality, which Global Hotel Alliance celebrates as one of its key values.
How LIVE LOCAL works
GHA DISCOVERY offers easy ways to relax and explore close to home with exclusive Local Offers and Experiences. This means a member can relax at a hotel pool for an afternoon, indulge in a spa treatment, work from the hotel in the executive lounge, enjoy a gourmet meal one evening or afternoon tea, or check in for the weekend. As a GHA DISCOVERY member, they can experience the wonderful hotel and resort amenities near their home base with or without an overnight stay. All members need to do is browse what’s available from the new GHA DISCOVERY app and make a booking. There are just a few days to go! The newly enhanced GHA DISCOVERY goes live on 7th December. Jelena Kezika is Senior Director of Strategy at Global Hotel Alliance.