I don’t believe IHG Rewards Club has announced this publicly yet, but they’ve updated their program terms and conditions to reference ‘member-exclusive rates’ at their hotels.
Member-exclusive Rates. An IHG ® Rewards Club member is eligible to book exclusive rates available only to IHG ® Rewards Club members, provided the member books his or her stay at an IHG ® hotel through one of IHG’s websites (including mobile sites), the IHG ® app, IHG’s central reservations office, or at an IHG ® hotel’s front desk. Availability of member-exclusive rates varies by brand and region
Intercontinental Times Square
And these new rates are live. Here’s the first search I performed:
I found discounts of 2% on both the advanced purchase rate and best flexible rate plans. The member discount is called YOUR RATE and here it is on the Best Flexible rate:
And for the same hotel, same date, same percentage off advance purchase:
Hilton started this game in the fall testing a small discount in a handful of cities with a discount restricted to Hilton HHonors members. The discount wasn’t great, about 5% (and so generally more expensive than AAA rates), but it was more about the model than the amount. Then in February Hilton expanded the discount offer worldwide and is promoting the idea that guests should “stop clicking around” and book at Hilton.com.
Marriott followed suit, and did Hyatt with discounts up to 10%.
The goal is to fight online travel agencies and their higher associated distribution costs. But telling people, as Hilton does, to ‘stop clicking around’ misses the point. Most people don’t know they want to stay at a Hilton and then go searching websites for the lowest rate. They don’t know where they want to stay and want to compare choices as well as prices.
The answer isn’t providing members-only discounts for booking direct. The answer is to do the best job showing consumers the product that best meets their needs, at the best available price, and give them the best user experience to book it.
Of course, it’s not surprising to see this from IHG because, like The Cranberries asked in their debut album, “Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We?”