News

IHG strengthens its best rate guarantee

3 Oct 2011 by BusinessTraveller

Hotel chain IHG, which has more than 4,500 hotels worldwide, has strengthened its best rate guarantee for guests booking through any IHG-branded website.

The company is now offering guests a free night if they find a lower price on any other website, with the rest of their stay lowered to match the price found. IHG is offering the guarantee as part of its “Book with us advantage” programme.

The Best Price Guarantee is available to guests that book through any of IHG’s mobile apps or branded websites including InterContinental Hotels, Crowne Plaza, Hotel Indigo, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express and Staybridge Suites.

Speaking with Business Traveller, Matt Luscombe, senior vice president, sales and marketing, Europe, IHG said:

“People feel that if you hunt around you can find a deal, and there’s a degree of cynicism about whether one website or another has the best deal. What we are saying to our gests is that if they come to our website they will enjoy the additional benefits you get there – including earning points in the Priority Club programme which isn’t available if you book in certain other ways, and they will also get the best price.”

IHG has had its lowest internet rate guarantee since 2002, but the new deal sees IHG taking a gamble on guests being unable to find a comparable rate elsewhere. One criticism is that flexible rates don’t seem to be included in the offer – the terms and conditions talk of Best Available Rate, but Luscombe says:

“The way the promotion is set up you need to have a comparable rate. At certain points of time a flexible rate is the best and at other times it’s a restricted rate. It could apply to flexible rates.”

So far, Luscombe says that of the claims made, “...obviously certain criteria are required for the claim to be valid... but over one third have been deemed to be valid so far.”

Luscobe says that IHG sees the best rate guarantee as helping to build a relationship with customers based on integrity.

“We don’t have any hidden credit card booking fees which you might find on other sites, and you will have your reservation honoured, so there are reasons for coming to our site over and above this best rate guarantee. We don’t want people thinking they are missing a trick by booking with us, and there is that pre-conception of the industry as a whole. The best rate guarantee shows they are not being short changed."

For more information visit ichotelsgroup.com.

Report by Tom Otley

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