There’s nothing new about discounted hotel rates available only to members of the hotel’s loyalty program who book direct. Of the major chains, Starwood was the first to offer member-only rates, beginning last year. And Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott, and InterContinental have since followed suit.
Such rates, in short, have become a go-to tactic in hotel marketers’ toolkits, and are well on their way to becoming an expectation of hotel guests.
It’s no surprise, therefore, that Choice Hotels – one of the largest chains, with more than 6,400 hotels in its network – will be rolling out its own Choice Privileges Member Rates, available for sale beginning on July 20. As with the other hotels’, Choice’s member-only rates are available only to Choice Privileges members who book their stays on the Choice website or via its mobile app.
So, how much is the discount? Choice promises “room rates that are up to a 7% discount off the best available rate.” The “up to” verbiage gives Choice plenty of wiggle room. And since the new rates aren’t yet displaying on Choice’s booking app, it’s not yet possible to check to see how many hotels are offering what levels of discounts.
As with the other hotel groups’ discounts, Choice’s are likely to run the gamut, from inconsequential to substantial. It’s worth remembering that the goal of member-only prices is to steer consumers away from online travel agencies and incent them to shop and book direct with the hotels. Savvy travelers shouldn’t be beguiled, though: To get the best deal, comparison shopping remains the rule.
Reader Reality Check
How much lower have you found the hotels’ member-only rates to be?
After 20 years working in the travel industry, and almost that long writing about it, Tim Winship knows a thing or two about travel. Follow him on Twitter @twinship.
This article first appeared on SmarterTravel.com, where Tim is Editor-at-Large.