IHG Partners with Trip.com Group’s Ctrip

LONDON—IHG has launched its first flagship store on Chinese OTA platform Ctrip, part of Trip.com Group. Both companies will also cooperate in their membership systems.

The launch also marks IHG’s strategy in localization as a global company, optimizing its digital distribution channel to meet the needs of digitally savvy Chinese consumers, the company reports. The locally tailored flagship store not only enables guests to search, browse and book a room from more than 470 IHG hotels in Greater China, but also allows Trip.com Group members to register with IHG’s loyalty program—IHG Rewards Club—accessing the member rate, stay points and other benefits.

In addition to the flagship store, the two companies will launch direct membership matching, whereby Ctrip Diamond and higher-tier members can apply to become an IHG Rewards Club Gold Elite Member through the IHG flagship store. After completing a certain qualifying spend, they will be upgraded to an IHG Rewards Club Platinum Elite Member.

“The partnership between two top players in the travel industry shows positive signs of lodging demand recovery in China post COVID-19,” said Jolyon Bulley, CEO, IHG Greater China. “Over our 36 years of operation in China, we have and will continue to build an ‘in China for China’ business, focused on evolving Chinese consumer expectations. We are looking forward to better leveraging the resources from both sides, providing more guests with a convenient booking experience, a richer range of benefits, as well as our true hospitality.”

The May Day holiday brought a significant rise in IHG hotel bookings in the Chinese domestic market where people favored short trips to neighboring cities or the countryside. With the domestic hotel sector in China gradually returning to normalcy, quality and experience will become more important factors when consumers make booking decisions, according to the companies.