ATLANTA—InterContinental Hotels Group has introduced IHG Business Edge, a comprehensive program designed to enhance the corporate travel experience for small and midsize enterprises (SMEs).
Prior to launch, 1,500 companies have already signed up as members, eager to benefit from a program designed to streamline the negotiation process, reward loyalty and consolidate data, content and booking into one easily accessible customer portal.
IHG Business Edge has been in development for the past year, and was built based on the insights of 2,100 global SME customers and then piloted with 300 companies across 17 countries. Through this process, the companies made it clear they wanted to benefit from some of the competitive advantages traditionally enjoyed by large enterprise customers, and were looking for a partner that understood small business and could provide them with meaningful resources and content that they couldn’t get on their own.
Derek DeCross, SVP of global sales, IHG, said: “We knew that there was an unmet need for a travel buying program specifically designed for SMEs—a group of customers who can often be underserved by the industry. We worked together with SMEs to design the program and they told us that a discount program alone is not compelling enough to drive their loyalty and engagement. They didn’t want lengthy negotiations—but rather a rich discount they could count on, reliable reporting and insight into the latest information, as well as access to a diverse corporate network of other ‘similar’ organizations.”
Companies with less than 250 employees and up to $50 million in revenue and that spend at least $5,000 with IHG annually, are welcome to join the IHG Business Edge community. This will give them discounted rates at participating hotels across IHG’s portfolio of more than 5,400 properties across 15 brands, including InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, Holiday Inn Hotels & Resorts, Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts and Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants. Participating travelers also enjoy the benefits of IHG Rewards Club Gold Elite status after completing their first stay.
Through the customer portal, the corporate administrator can monitor essential travel data including hotel spend, room nights, average daily rate, savings, and IHG Rewards Club participation over the previous 12 months. With future enhancements, the portal will also serve as the gateway to the IHG Business Edge community where administrators can access a content center with business tools, articles for continuing education and a forum to connect with fellow SME travel administrators.