Recently you may have noticed that Hilton has rolled out discounted room rates for HHonors members. These are available exclusively when booking through Hilton channels, such as Hilton’s website, app, conact center, or through a preferred corporate travel partner.
When you search for hotels in select markets (including New York, Miami, Houston, and San Diego as of now), you’ll see special rates listed for HHonors members.
For example, below are rate listings for the Hilton Times Square New York, whereby you’ll see that the standard flexible rate is $429, while the HHonors discounted rate is $386, with the same cancellation terms.
So why is Hilton offering a discount to HHonors members booking directly through their channels? Simply put, they’re trying to avoid having to pay travel agents commissions. Travel agents typically get a 10% commission on hotel bookings, so they’re trying to give members an incentive to book directly with them and cut out the middle man. And in this case they’re offering a discount of 10% for doing so.
Hotels offering an incentive to book directly through their channels is nothing new. For example, earlier in the year Hilton added free wifi as a perk as well, but only if you book directly through one of their “approved” channels.
All that being said, while a 10% discount sounds nice in theory, keep in mind this is less of a discount than you usually get by using a AAA rate. Taking the above example, the HHonors discounted rate is $386, while the AAA rate is $22 per night less than that. So really only those who aren’t already savvy would be benefitting from this, in my opinion.
Over time I expect to see hotels offer more incentives to book directly through their channel rather than through a third party. 10% is a lot of revenue to leave on the table, and much like airlines have cut commissions for travel agents over the years, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the same happen with hotels eventually.
Further conditioning people to believe they’ll always get the best rate directly on the hotel’s website is just part of that overall plan.