IHG: Travellers hold misconceptions about hotel bookings sites

By Emma Eversham

- Last updated on GMT

There are still misconceptions around how hotel bookings websites work with the majority of consumers believing OTAs will always give them the cheapest available rate
There are still misconceptions around how hotel bookings websites work with the majority of consumers believing OTAs will always give them the cheapest available rate

Related tags Intercontinental hotels group

Hoteliers could be facing a tough battle to encourage guests to book rooms with them direct after a survey revealed that 76 per cent use online travel agents (OTAs) because they believe they will guarantee them the best rates. 

The research, carried out by OnePoll on behalf of InterContinental Hotel Group (IHG), found that despite efforts by hotel groups to encourage direct bookings, only 12 per cent of Brits said they always book rooms direct.  

However, the findings, released to mark the launch of IHG’s Lowest Price Promise, did show that the tide could turn, particularly with the publication of the report by the House of Lords Select Committee calling for greater transparency in this area and consumers’ overriding desire to find the best price. 

According to the poll of 2,000 UK travellers, 35 per cent no longer know who to trust when it comes to getting the lowest rate and 45 per cent said they would never knowingly want to overpay for anything. 

Consumer champion and restaurant investor Sarah Willingham said booking direct with hotels had more benefits than consumers often realised: "So many of us assume that booking with an online travel agent will mean we get the cheapest price and that we will save money but the reality is that you should always try booking direct as there are often big savings to be had.

"Recent changes to regulations and practises are great for the consumer and mean that more hotels companies are now able to guarantee their guests the lowest prices available direct."

Low price

IHG, which was the first hotel group to introduce black-out dates to gain back bookings from OTAs, predicts that travellers could save £20m a year by booking directly with hotels. 

Its Lowest Price Promise guarantees guests will get the lowest rates when they book directly with IHG and is part of the rollout of its Your Rate by IHG Rewards Club, an exclusive rate for its 92 millon members across the globe.  

Matt Luscombe, chief commercial officer, Europe for IHG, said his company wanted to make the booking process 'simple for guests'. 

“Our research shows there are still misconceptions around how some booking sites work," he said. "Our guests like choice, but they also want to know that they’re not paying over the odds for their room. We want to make it simple for our guests: whether you’re staying in a Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, or Crowne Plaza, our Lowest Price Promise is a guarantee that, if you book directly with us, you will get a lower rate than on any other website.”


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