Last updated: 10:38 AM ET, Fri May 06 2016

IHG is Latest to Allow Travel Agents to Book Discounted Rates

Hotel & Resort | Patrick Clarke | May 06, 2016

IHG is Latest to Allow Travel Agents to Book Discounted Rates

Photo courtesy of Thinkstock.

The InterContinental Hotels Group joined its fellow competitors this week when it announced the rollout of a direct-booking program offering discounted rates to customers who reserve their room through a direct channel.

Launched this month at IHG properties in the Americas and Europe, "Your Rate by IHG Rewards Club" guarantees an exclusive room rate to IHG Rewards Club members who book direct on IHG branded websites, the IHG app and over the phone through an IHG call center.  

But the U.K.-based company has confirmed that those direct channels also include traditional travel agents.

"IHG greatly values our travel agency relationships," the company said in an emailed statement Thursday. "Over the coming weeks, we are working to ensure that Your Rate by IHG Rewards Club is available in the GDS as we know this is a critical booking channel for our travel partners."

"These rates will also be commissionable for travel agents," the company added.

READ MORE: What Hotel Chains Stand to Lose From Direct-Booking Push

IHG's new agent-inclusive program is likely to be met with praise by the travel agent community, including the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA), which recently applauded Marriott International and Hilton Worldwide for making their respective discounted rates available to agents who book on behalf of their client through the companies' GDSs.

Meanwhile, the organization expressed disappointment with Hyatt's direct-booking initiative, which requires agents to book through a Hyatt-branded website in order to access the exclusive discounted rate for their client.

Moving forward, Your Rate by IHG Rewards Club will eventually be rolled out at IHG properties in Asia, the Middle East and Africa later this year.

In the Americas, agents and those customers who book direct can expect to save anywhere from 2 to 6 percent on their hotel room.

IHG owns a handful of well-known brands, including Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza. And while those and other brands are participating in the new program, it should be noted that the discounted rates will not be applicable to IHG's recently-acquired Kimpton Hotels brand.


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