The Global Hotel Alliance (GHA) which counts hotel groups Kempinski, Leela, Dusit, Omni, Pan Pacific, Marco Polo and Landis among its members, has announced its intention to launch a recognition programme recognised by all properties within the Alliance.

Speaking exclusively to Business Traveller, Chief Executive Christopher Hartley said:

“All the hotels will continue to have their own cards, if they currently have them, but the offering will now be tiered, just as with Star Alliance. As well as having Kempinski or Omni or Leela on them [the cards] will also have the GHA symbol on them and will be recognised in all the hotels of the Alliance. It means that business travellers can be sure that they are recognised in all the properties in the Alliance.”

Hartley confirmed that the loyalty programme will be concentrated on recognition rather than a points-based system.

“Our research has shown that there is growing frustration with the ‘earn and burn’ type of loyalty programmes. People value more immediate benefits, the sort that come with recognition, such as room upgrades, free breakfasts, being able to check in online and choose your room. For those who want to have points, each hotel group already has various alliances with other travel providers, such as airlines, and we can work to extend these across the group.”

Hartley confirmed that an eighth member of the Alliance is expected to be signed by the end of 2007, with a further two to be signed next year.

“We are looking for hotel groups with a strong national presence, and probably less than 100 hotels, to join the Alliance. It means that travellers staying with the Alliance know that they are getting a local hotel group, with all the advantages that brings, yet at the same time they are leveraging the fact that they have stayed with other properties in the Alliance, and deserve recognition for that. At the same time, large corporates can negotiate directly with GHA. We are opening sales offices in London and New York to that effect.”

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