Japan Unsplash Photo by Clay Banks
Japan Unsplash Photo by Clay Banks

GHA: These are the Japanese travel market trends for 2024


Global Hotel Alliance (GHA), the biggest allianz independent of global hotel company revealed key Japanese traveler trends in 2024 at its global CEO conference, held this week in Tokyo.

The conference was held for the first time in Japan, at the Hotel Groove Shinjuku, with the participation of CEOs of more than 40 GHA hotel brands.

GHA brings together a diverse collection of independent hospitality brands with GHA Discovery, a multi-brand loyalty program that leverages a common technology platform.

GHA Discovery’s membership figures show that its membership base in Japan continues to grow, now reaching 340,000 members. Hotel revenue coming from its Japan-based members is also growing, already ahead of 2023 totals just five months into 2024, indicating a return to international travel, which has been slow to recover after the pandemic.

The top international destinations for Japan-based GHA Discovery members, so far in 2024, are the US and Thailand in terms of nights and spending, followed by Singapore.

When it comes to GHA accommodations where they like to stay the most, the most popular destinations are Hawaii, Yangon, and Kuala Lumpur, while Outrigger hotels in Waikiki stand out in terms of spending.

Looking at Japan as an inbound destination, it remains the most popular choice among GHA Discovery’s 27 million global members, with the US being the top source market in 2024, followed by Australia, Singapore and Hong Kong respectively.

Digging deeper into Japanese traveler trends, a recent survey conducted by Interbrand Japan, in partnership with Global Hotel Alliance, found:

– International travel increase with low rythmus: In 2023, Japan’s number of outbound travelers was about half that of 2019, with a slower recovery compared to domestic travel demand. 74% of respondents do not plan to travel internationally in 2024, citing high prices, a weak Japanese yen and uncertainty as the main deterrents.

-New experiences – and safety – in focus: Japanese tourists who travel abroad are looking for new experiences (45% of respondents) and are willing to spend several days sightseeing and shopping (42%), while intimate and safe experiences and relaxing in hotels are less important. Safety, comfort and affordability are critical factors in choosing a destination, with high-end customers looking for new adventurous experiences.

– Hotel quality a benchmark: For hotel selection, quality of accommodation, convenient location and affordability are important, while high-end guests also value hotel amenities and accommodation size.

Focus on loyalty programs: Loyalty program members value participation rates, discounts and rewards more, while high-level customers place extra importance on emotional experiences and quality of service.

– The affluent Japanese traveler under the microscope: Contrary to the general trend of the market, these travelers have a great appetite for international travel, not so much concerned about safety, but motivated by unique, traditional and exclusive experiences in the destinations they visit. They are informed by other “knowledgeable” travelers and not by established travel guides.

Affluent Japanese have focused on Budapest, Rome, Prague, and the mountain destinations of the U.S. and Switzerland.

They also prefer independent hotels with a local character and charm to branded brands and appreciate loyalty program benefits that make their travel experience more seamless and comfortable, such as upgrades, complimentary breakfast and early check-in/last checkout.

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