Here are Secrets Holiday Inn Express Tells Hotel Owners. Now You Know, Too.

Hotel franchise manuals contain all sorts of interesting tidbits, from the specific details of brand standards (the experience they’re obligated to provide to you as a guest) to how they allocate rooms for reward nights.

Back in December I shared juicy tidbits from Best Western’s document.

Loyalty Lobby mentioned that the Holiday Inn Express franchise manual (from 2012) could be found online, unprotected. So I googled it. Here is the .pdf.

It tells you everything from the maximum price to send a fax or for photocopies, that all Holiday Inn Express hotels must provide complimentary tooth brush, tooth paste, comb, and razor/shaving cream, and that the hotel’s computers must load McAfee protection software, among other items.

Here are some of the things that I found interesting.

Hotels are required to set aside at least 5% but not more than 10 rooms per night at an employee rate, except under defined circumstances. The employee rate price is based on the hotel’s average daily room rate, and is set as follows:

Hotels are fined $75 per violation of IHG’s Best Price Guarantee.

This is what franchisees are told about award nights.

Reward Nights

All hotels must accept Reward Night reservations. Reward Night inventory equal to 5% of the hotel’s guest room inventory will be allocated in the HOLIDEX® Plus system for both HIRO and non-HIRO hotels. The recommended price point for the IVANI (Reward Night) rate code is 5% off C1. All hotel benefits, excluding Upgrades for Platinum Members, must be honored for Priority Club® Rewards members in conjunction with their Reward Night stays.

Hotels have quota for enrolling members into the rewards programs.

Gold and Platinum elites must be preblocked into rooms prior to 8am. Dedicated elite check-in space is a requirement.

IHG Rewards really scams their hotels that host meetings. They bill the hotel 1.2% of meet revenue, and only award a maximum of 60,000 points. So a $100,000 meeting would cost the hotel $1200 for those 60,000 points when you and I could buy those points for $420.

Hotels pay IHG Rewards for the points earned by guests, but elite bonuses are funded by the program itself not the hotel.

This is what the hamper in the fitness center must look like:

‘Walked’ guests are entitled to first night’s lodging at alternate accommodations plus transportation cost to the new hotel (and phone call expense to notify family).

Newspapers no longer have to be delivered to guest rooms, but can simply be made available complimentary to guests. USA Today constitutes a newspaper.

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About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Other interesting tidbits from the brand standards manual:

    Elite members must be addressed by name at check in

    The standards for a hotel to call itself smoke free are REALLY high

    Alcohol may not be served on premises

    US hotels are not required to accept discover

  2. Interesting stuff.

    I was wondering what happen to that big TV guide paper thing they used to leave by my door.

  3. Priority Club is a bad program. There will delete your account for T&C violations with no warning and for seemly no reason. Never used their program, credited a family stay in Orlando once to the program and my account was deleted a week later. No history, no explanation just deleted. Still puzzled to this day as to why. Thankfully it was nothing in points but as I searched the internet it apparently happens often to travelers and families on vacation alike. Stay away from Holiday Inn they are really shady operators.

  4. Jacob, are those the standards for Holiday Inn Express or a different chain? “Alcohol may not be served on premises?”

    I’ve stayed at a Holiday Inn Express in Germany that served beer & wine (& light meals, e.g. pizza) at their bar in the evening.

    Maybe another example of slightly different standards for US versus non-US hotels?

  5. @LTL guest with reservation shows up, hotel is oversold, and hotel won’t give them a room so they are ‘walked’ to another hotel.

  6. Little late to the game here, Kathy, but if you stayed at a Holiday Inn Express it wouldn’t have had a bar. Only full service Holiday Inn’s have the restaurant and lounge attached.

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