A few days ago I wrote about how IHG sent an email to members with a “member booking update,” which was very poorly handled. In the email they stated that as of January 1, 2017, members would only receive the full benefits that come with IHG Rewards Club membership when booking directly through IHG, and not when booking through other travel booking sites.
This is certainly the trend in the industry, as hotels are trying to reduce bookings through online travel agencies as much as possible, given that they have to pay them a commission.
However, there were two problems with IHG’s email:
- It created confusion, as it led a lot of people to believe that bookings through corporate travel agents would no longer qualify for points accrual and benefits, which wasn’t the intent
- The policy, as written, reflected IHG’s current policy, and not a change of policy; IHG already doesn’t award points or provide elite benefits when booking through a third party
Why send out an email alarming members when it doesn’t actually represent a change in policy?
Well, IHG has just sent out an email to members providing an update on their member benefits update email.
The email read in part as follows:
We recently sent an email about changes to your member benefits that come into effect at the beginning of next year. We’ve realized that some of the details may not have been very clear, and we’re sorry if we caused any confusion. Our intention is always to be transparent with you about our program. In this instance, we could have been clearer in our message.
We would like to reassure you that when you book directly with IHG® (IHG.com, the IHG® App, IHG®brand sites, Central Reservations, or Hotel Direct), nothing will change, and this also applies to corporate business bookings made through your company’s travel agency or travel department. You will continue to receive all the wonderful IHG® Rewards Club membership benefits that you enjoy today.
It’s pretty embarrassing that they sent all members such an alarming email to begin with, and it’s equally bad that their clarification email doesn’t do much to clarify the situation. So what exactly is changing, IHG?
Very, very poor communication, if you ask me…