InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), the world’s largest and most global hotel company, announces today it has certified Travelocity and Travelocity Business as third party distributors of its more than 3,500 hotels worldwide, including InterContinental Hotels and Resorts, Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Staybridge Suites and Candlewood Suites hotels. IHG previously announced it had adopted a new standard, effective May 20, 2004, for its portfolio of brands for selling or re-selling hotel room inventory via any and all online travel companies. Under the new standard, IHG is committed to only working with distributors and their affiliates that do not engage in confusing and potentially unclear marketing practices, respect IHG’s trademarks, ensure reservations are guaranteed through an automated and common confirmation process, and clearly present fees to consumers. The new standard also ensures that hotel owners are able to provide the best online rates, and better manage inventory.
“These are fundamental issues that we believe need to be addressed by online third party distributors in order for us to protect our customers, franchisees and brands,” said Peter Gowers, Executive Vice President, Global Brand Services, InterContinental Hotels Group. “We will not waver from this commitment and are pleased to be working with a respected distributor like Travelocity because Travelocity shares our same values and our commitment to protecting customers and hotel owners alike. Customers and hotel owners trust our brands and we know that Travelocity will continue to protect that trust.”
“We’re pleased to deepen our partnership with IHG because its hotels include some of the world’s most recognized and respected brands, and their presence on our shelves gives us the most comprehensive offering of hotels online,” said Michelle Peluso, president and chief executive officer for Travelocity. “IHG’s certification is further proof that the risks we took when we created a whole new supplier-friendly business model with hoteliers are paying off, both for Travelocity and our customers.”
Peter Gowers added that IHG remains committed to working with a wide variety of distribution partners and will make additional announcements regarding certification of other online travel distributors as appropriate:
“We continue negotiations with other online travel distributors that have made it clear they wish to work through these critical issues with us and have the best interests of our customers and hotel owners in mind, and we expect to be able to announce certification of other companies shortly,” Gowers said. “However, we could not secure this same commitment from Expedia, Expedia Corporate Travel and Hotels.com and we will relinquish these relationships over the next several months.”
Online travel companies that do not become certified will lose access to IHG properties and room inventory during the coming months.
IHG has always been an industry leader in e-commerce, being the first company to offer online reservations, the first to launch the Lowest Internet Rate Guarantee and the first to earn the TRUSTe® certification for its online security and privacy protections. IHG receives more than 7.5 million visits to its sites per month and roughly 70 percent of InterContinental Hotels Group online reservations are currently booked directly via its own Web sites. Bookings through the major customer direct online travel distributors currently represent approximately two percent of room revenues for IHG’s brands worldwide.
IHG was recently recognized by an Internet assessment performance company, Keynote Systems, for having the fastest Web site in the industry and was voted the best international hotel Web site in the most recent Freddie Awards (the frequent traveler’s answer to the Oscar, Emmy and Grammy Awards).
“IHG has a reputation for taking bold actions to protect our customers, our hotel owners and our brands. The certification approach makes sense,” said Seddon.