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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

InterContinental Hotels Group Becomes First in Industry to Commit to Free Internet for All Loyalty Members Worldwide


 IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group) today announced that it will be providing free internet to all its 71m loyalty programme members, worldwide. The announcement comes as IHG reveals the results of a global online survey* which show that nearly half of adults (43%) would choose not to stay in a hotel that charged for internet.
IHG is the first and only hotel group to offer free internet in all hotels to all loyalty programme members, globally - whether they stay the night or come in for a coffee or an impromptu meeting. It will benefit millions of guests globally as IHG has the most rooms and is in more countries than any one of the other four largest hotel companies in the world**. This will start from July 2013 for Elite members and extend to all members during 2014.

The move comes as IHG announces that it will be enhancing and renaming its industry-leading loyalty programme Priority Club® Rewards as IHG Rewards Club in July and introducing a range of new benefits for members.

Richard Solomons, Chief Executive, IHG, said:

"In today's fast-paced world, we know that travellers need to stay connected and free internet access is increasingly important. I am proud that IHG is the first hotel company to offer free internet globally to all our loyalty programme members.

"2013 marks 10 years since IHG became a standalone company. Whilst we are relatively young as a business, our brands, such as Holiday Inn and InterContinental, have a deep history and a powerful heritage and are instantly recognised by millions around the world.

"Renaming our industry-leading loyalty programme as IHG Rewards Club will help our guests understand that all our brands are part of the same IHG brand family.

"Whether it is a business stop-over or a family holiday, our guests can choose from more than 4,600 hotels in nearly 100 countries and territories, secure in the knowledge that each carries the IHG badge of responsibility, trust and confidence that they can rely on."

Internet access is increasingly important to hotel guests and a key consideration when planning their hotel stays. New research* commissioned by IHG reveals that:

43% of adults surveyed said that they would choose not to stay in a hotel that charged for internet.
23% of respondents said that free internet in rooms and throughout the hotel is the most important amenity when staying in a hotel for business, compared to 7% who chose room service.
Travellers from China placed the most importance on online connectivity - with nearly half (47%) listing it as the most important thing to them when staying in a hotel for business, followed by those from Russia (26%), the US (23%) and India (22%).
Travellers from the UK (18%) and the US (14%) both listed paying for internet as the second most annoying thing when staying at a hotel after noisy guests (22% and 24% respectively).
Globally, more female respondents (14%) say free internet throughout the hotel is most important to them when staying for leisure, compared to 2% who listed having an in-room hairdryer.
IHG Rewards Club, formerly Priority Club Rewards, is the world's first and largest hotel loyalty programme, providing existing, industry-leading benefits including points that never expire, no blackout dates for Reward Nights, flight rewards, music downloads and free nights at any IHG hotel anywhere in the world.

From July, new benefits will include:

free internet to all Elite status members from July 2013 and extending to all members during 2014;
the ability to earn Elite status faster by staying in three or more of IHG's hotel brands;
Reward Nights will count toward earning Elite status; and
Platinum Elite members' "extra" nights will roll over toward maintaining their status in their next membership year
Booking directly with IHG provides guests with access to the best available rates through our 'Best Price Guarantee' and ensures they qualify to earn points for their IHG Rewards Club account.

Visitors and guests can sign up free of charge for IHG Rewards Club and all its benefits on the spot at any IHG hotel and can find out more about the changes here.

*IHG Internet in Hotels Survey carried out by YouGov Plc in March.

All figures unless otherwise stated are from YouGov Plc.
8,306 adults were surveyed in China (1,016), France (1,005), Germany (1,032), India (1,011), Russia (1,018), UK (2,070) and US (1,154).
Fieldwork was undertaken between 1-8 March 2013.
The survey was carried out online.
The figures for each country have been weighted and are representative of all adults (aged 18+) in each country.
Full survey results are available on request.
** Data obtained from Smith Travel Research January 2013 Hotel Census.

New member benefits include:

Free internet to all Elite members from July 2013 and extending to all members during 2014
The ability to earn Elite status faster by staying in three or more of IHG's hotel brands
Reward Nights will count toward earning Elite status
Platinum Elite members' "extra" nights will roll over toward maintaining their status in their next membership year
Existing industry-leading benefits include:

Points that never expire
No blackout dates for Reward Nights, so members can stay any time
Faster rewards by using a combination of Points & Cash
Redeem points for flights on over 400 airlines with Flights AnywhereTM; for hotel stays virtually anywhere with Hotels Anywhere; or search, book and purchase car rentals with well-known local and global providers at airports worldwide with Cars Anywhere
Exclusive member-only, in-hotel perks
Priority Club® Rewards Concierge to help you find a specific merchandise reward
Plus, earn points for everyday spending through our partners and other programs like Priority Club Shopping, Priority Club Dining