What's it like to be a member brand of Global Hotel Alliance? By Anthony Ross, CEO of JA Resorts
“For us, this answer is simple. We have spent 15 years refining our offering and continually delivering results that drive growth for small and medium-sized hotel brands, making them, as a collective, big enough to be scalable, with the loyalty and tech power to stand toe-to-toe with their mega-chain competitors.
These are the sort of results that every hotel owner wants to achieve; growth, scalability and success against their competition -- while remaining independent, offering the services that make their hotel unique, accessing top tier customers and effectively attracting them to stay with unique experiences, driven by leading CRM and loyalty technology.
Often, when exploring collaborative options, it can be hard to tell which avenue offers a genuine revenue opportunity, as opposed to a partnership in name only. Considering the majority of our hotel brands join through referrals from existing members, we decided that the best way to communicate the benefit of an alliance is to share an example of how we have worked with one of our more recent members, JA Resorts & Hotels, who have enjoyed membership for just over one year now.”
One Year with GHA
In March of 2018, JA Resorts & Hotels CEO, Anthony Ross, brought the brand and its seven hotels and luxury resorts into GHA’s network. With a unique collection of hotels in the United Arab Emirates, the award-winning Maldives resort JA Manafaru and JA Enchanted Island Resort in Seychelles, JA Resorts & Hotels already had the first-class offering, so why did they need to join an alliance?
Like most of the brands, JA have aspirations to grow their brand, and they needed to identify a loyalty programme which would enable them to compete with the megabrands. They wanted to be able to recognise and reward their current loyal guests in a systematic and consistent manner and recognised the value in being able to market themselves to the loyal customers of all the other great brands participating in the alliance’s DISCOVERY loyalty programme.
The situation for JA Resorts & Hotels at that point is a common situation for most small hotel brands today; the large have been significantly increasing spend and capabilities in loyalty, and it's becoming more difficult and more costly for small brands to reach a global audience, especially when you add the OTA’s power into the mix.
With customer reach being such an important factor in remaining competitive, we wanted to learn how JA Resorts & Hotels would rate their brand’s results after a year with GHA.
In joining the alliance, JA was integrated into the DISCOVERY loyalty programme, which has upwards of 15 million members. To retain the individuality there is a co-branding element to DISCOVERY. For example, JA Resorts & Hotels now communicate their programme as JA DISCOVERY. It’s part of the overarching DISCOVERY programme, but uniquely branded to appeal to their customers and work with their organisation.
"We have been delighted with the volume of cross-brand revenue. The ROI has been stunningly good, better than any other revenue-generating initiative. JA Resorts & Hotels has been around for 38 years and has a large number of loyal guests. They have been very happy to launch JA DISCOVERY and enjoy the recognition this also offers them when staying with the other brands in the alliance. It has also helped us to own the customer relationship directly and therefore drive bookings through our own channels, rather than through costly third-parties. The fact we have already exceeded our annual membership sign up target for 2019 speaks to the popularity of JA DISCOVERY with our guests."
Measurable Membership Outcomes
In just 16 months, JA Resorts & Hotels doubled their database of emailable members through JA DISCOVERY member enrolments.
While new members are critical to growth, conversion is the metric by which the value of those new members can be measured. In the case of JA Resorts & Hotels, their cross-brand room revenue, i.e. business received from DISCOVERY members who enrolled at another member brand of GHA, increased a monumental 122% between May 2018 and May 2019, with customer sources from across the globe.
JA Resorts & Hotels cross-brand revenue 2019 YTD (by member region of residence):
Technology Sets Us Apart
When JA Resorts & Hotels came on board, GHA began working on an interface with Protel. As an excellent candidate to pilot the interface, JA became the first brand to test out the new technology.
The interface has enabled an even smoother process to sign up new members and recognise existing members for staff at all levels in the hotel.
The experience of JA Resorts & Hotels is one of great success and through countless testimonials, the experiences of our hotel members follow a similar theme; DISCOVERY affords additional customer volume, reach into new markets and significant growth opportunities. Together we are stronger.
Why not take a look at how GHA can support your hotel? Get in touch with the team of Global Hotel Alliance to learn more.