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The tug-of-war between hotels and online travel advisers (OTAs) continues to rage on, and International Hotel Group has revealed its latest move to encourage customers to book directly through its hotels. Titled, “Your Rate by IHG Rewards Club,” the program offers members an exclusive rate when booking with the hotel.
The IHG family of hotels features some of the most respected names in hospitality, including Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Crowne, Kimpton, and InterContinental. IHG Rewards Club has already reached a membership enrollment of more than 92 million, and hopes to build on that with the newest value offering. IHG consists of more than 5,000 hotels in almost 100 countries.
“IHG is a consumer driven company and we are committed to ensuring that we provide a superior and personalized experience for our millions of guests around the world,” said Keith Barr, Chief Commercial Officer of IHG. “Offering exclusive rates to our most loyal guests who know and trust IHG's family of brands is a key part of this. The launch of Your Rate by IHG Rewards Club is another important milestone for our loyalty program, which last year launched a new top-tier membership rate, Spire Elite, alongside a series of other benefits.”
Your Rate by IHG Rewards is a targeted effort to eliminate online travel bookers like Priceline and Expedia. These agencies have positioned themselves as a middleman in the travel industry, and hotels have responded with various efforts to once again book with travelers directly. The program goes live in North America and Europe this month, with a rollout planned for Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and China later this year.
The program was developed using extensive consumer research conducted by the hotel giant, which found that guests are, among other things, looking for a loyalty program that makes them feel like they belong to a special club with preferred treatment and pricing.
The brand has not shut the door completely on outside sources of booking: The program specifies that in coming weeks, guests will be able to book through “select travel partners” in addition to IHG branded sites, apps, and call centers.
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