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Cendant’s Hotel Group to Offer ‘Best Rate or It’s Free’ Guarantee

Cendant Corporation’s Hotel Group
has announced it will introduce a Best Rate or It’s Free guarantee, promising customers their first night free if they do not receive lower rates on its brand Web sites and toll-free numbers than on third-party Web sites.The program will be introduced May 1 for Cendant’s Days Inn®, Super 8®, Ramada®, Travelodge®, Howard Johnson®, Knights Inn®, Villager, Wingate Inn® and AmeriHost Inn® hotel brands, replacing a best available rate guarantee introduced two years ago that offered a 10 percent discount for the first night if guests found a lower rate online.

Peter Strebel, Hotel Group senior vice president of sales and marketing, said the guarantee aims to instill consumer confidence by providing rate parity across Cendant’s brand Web sites and voice channels.

“Not only is the guarantee designed to build consumer confidence, we expect it to deliver higher margins and drive more revenue to our franchisees’ bottom lines,” he said. “This initiative will help preserve our competitive position and gain market share as we head into our important travel season.”

Strebel noted that franchisees preserve their profit margins when they sell rooms through their brand Web sites and toll-free numbers, avoiding steep discounts and third-party reservations fees associated with marketing through third-party Web sites.

Strebel said the guarantee also is expected to boost bookings through the company’s toll-free numbers. “In a test last year, we were able to increase voice conversion rates more than 30 percent by offering rate parity,” he said. “Toll-free brand numbers are critical to our business, contributing 34 percent of the bookings we delivered to franchisees last year.”