Choice Hotels Jumps on The Direct Booking Bandwagon
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Nearly three months after Choice Hotels International revamped its Choice Privileges loyalty program, the Rockville, Maryland-based company has announced the rollout of a Choice Privileges Members Rate.
The exclusive rate will be available to program members who book their room direct through either ChoiceHotels.com or the company's mobile app.
Set to launch later this summer, the exclusive discount arrives on the heels of several others offered by major hotel chains, including Marriott International, Hilton Worldwide, InterContinental Hotels Group and Hyatt.
"Our Choice Privileges Members Rate will assure guests that they will get the best online price possible when they join Choice Privileges and book direct on ChoiceHotels.com," said Choice Hotels' chief commercial officer Robert McDowell in a statement. "At a time when many consumers search dozens of websites during their travel planning process, Choice Hotels is committed to making it easier to find and book the best price for its hotels."
While Choice Hotels' announcement is big news, it hardly comes as a surprise given the recent industry trend of major chains working to lure customers away from OTAs by offering discounted rates to loyalty members who book through a direct channel.
What's more, Choice Hotels CEO Stephen Joyce hinted that the company would be joining the movement on a recent first quarter 2016 earnings conference call, acknowledging that the company is "very much supportive of that movement and will be a major player as part of it."
Although it's clear now that Choice Hotels will be heading in the same direction as many of its competitors, it remains to be seen whether the company will offer its best available rate to travel agents booking on behalf of their clients, as representatives have not yet responded to TravelPulse's request for comment.
Marriott, Hilton and IHG have all expressed a commitment to the agent community and are extending their discounted rates to agents. While Hyatt requires agents to book through its website to secure the discounted rate, it would certainly be surprising if agents were completely shutout of the newly announced Choice Privileges Members Rate.
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