Global Hotel Alliance (GHA) has announced details of a new loyalty programme that’s set to be recognised by its members. GHA is composed of hotel chains Kempinski, Leela, Omni, Pan Pacific, Marco Polo, Landis, Anantara, Cham Palaces and Hotels, The Doyle Collection and its latest addition, First Hotels of Scandinavia.

In an exclusive interview with Business Traveller, Christopher Hartley, GHA chief executive, reiterated an earlier statement the joint initiative would be “concentrated on recognition rather than a points-based system”. Dubbed “Discovery”, the programme is expected to launch in April 2010.

The cornerstone of Discovery’s reward scheme, according to Hartley, “is access to local experiences or activities guests may find difficult to organise on their own”.

This could mean visiting backstage with the stars of a hit musical or peeks into to a section of a museum not usually open to the public and the like. “These are a few of the things that make a difference in one’s view of a destination and our (hotel) general managers have a lot of knowledge about their markets, which we want to capitalise on.”

Patrick Imbardelli, Pan Pacific Hotels Group chief executive officer and president, agreed, saying: “Our hotels’ (Pan Pacific and Parkroyal brands) philosophy is anchored to the local heritage.”

Hartley remarked: “With the recession, consumers are being given a lot of free things, but through Discovery, they’ll get something that is also memorable. We want to add a different dimension to their travels.”

Hartley reconfirmed what he told Business Traveller in a previous interview (see news) – that GHA hotels would “continue to have their own cards”. But there would now be tiers – Gold, Platinum and Black – and the benefits offered would be standardised across all member brands. He said: “If you have the Pan Pacific Platinum Card, you will get the same benefits in Omni, Kempinski and so on.”

The experience awards are also redeemable in each hotel, but each will have their own set of experiences. Together, they will offer some 2,000 options to occupy guests. In the future, the public will be invited to submit suggestions. As Hartley said: “Everyone has different things in life they enjoy doing.”

For more details about GHA, visit

Margie T Logarta