Published Date : 09 Feb 2009
Geneva, 10th February 2009 - Global Hotel Alliance (GHA) held its first CEO meeting in India at the Leela Palace Bangalore in January. The CEOs of its ten member brands gathered for their bi-annual meeting to make plans for what they all expect to be a tough year for the hotel industry across the globe.
Nevertheless there is a conviction among GHA’s members that it’s during difficult times that strong alliances bring most value. In 2008 GHA already bucked the trend by using customised Micros-Fidelio technology to boost CRS revenues by on average 10% for member brands; but perhaps as importantly, GHA’s buying power enabled members to reduce their technology and distribution costs by several million dollars.
GHA’s CEO, Chris Hartley, believes that the difficult trading environment is forcing more and more independent hotel groups to analyse their technology and distribution strategy and costs. “When times are good, rates are high and customers are queuing at the door, many luxury brands simply don’t bother analysing distribution costs and they’re happy to pay third parties $50 or $60 a booking, or 25% commission, without asking any questions”, says Hartley. “When rates are forced lower and margins start getting squeezed, you have to look at ways to reduce these costs, while still keeping all revenue channels open. As a non-profit organisation, working purely for its members benefit, GHA is able to bring distribution costs down to wholesale levels, while sharing the resources of our member brands to drive incremental revenue opportunities. This has to be the perfect business model for smaller brands looking to survive this crisis”, Hartley concludes.
As a GHA member, this is one of the reasons why the Leela Group is remaining positive about its prospects. As India recovers from the shock of the events in Mumbai, the Leela Group is sticking to its expansion strategy, opening new luxury hotels in Gurgaon and Udaipur in 2009 and in Chennai and New Delhi in 2010. Vivek Nair, Leela’s Vice Chairman, says that the fundamentals remain positive for luxury hotels in India. “Our economy will continue to expand, albeit more slowly in the next couple of years, and, just like the United States got straight back to business after 9/11, India and its people are very resilient, and we will bounce back very quickly from the events in Mumbai.”
Nair goes on to say “the presence of the GHA CEOs with us here in India is not only a show of solidarity from the international hotel community, but demonstrates that business in India must and will continue as normal and that our country now plays a pivotal role in the hospitality industry.”
About Global Hotel Alliance
Based on the airline alliance model, Global Hotel Alliance is the world’s largest alliance of independent hotel brands. It uses a common technology platform to drive incremental revenues and create cost savings for its members, while offering enhanced recognition and service to customers across all brands. GHA currently comprises of Anantara, Cham, Dusit, Kempinski, Landis, Leela, Marco Polo, Omni, Pan Pacific, Park royal and The Doyle Collection encompassing 180 upscale and luxury hotels with over 46,000 rooms across 43 different countries.