Any time a country or region imposes any sort of visa stipulation - even if it’s a waiver - the travel industry sighs a collective groan, knowing the obstacles and headaches to come.
ATLANTA — IHG is giving small and midsize enterprises (SMEs) an edge over the competition with its new IHG Business Edge program.
Designed to enhance the corporate travel experience for SME’s, the program helps to streamline the negotiation process, rewards loyalty and consolidates data, content and bookings into one customer portal.
Prior to launch, 1,500 companies have already signed up as members. IHG Business Edge has been in development for the past year, and was built based on the insights of 2,100 global SME customers. It was then piloted with 300 companies across 17 countries.
“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,” said Derek DeCross, SVP, Global Sales, IHG. “We worked together with SME’s to design the program and they told us that a discount program alone is no compelling enough to drive their loyalty and engagement.”
What they did want, added DeCross, was “a rich discount they could count on, reliable reporting and insight into the latest information.” They also wanted access to a diverse corporate network of other “similar” organizations.
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.
In the future, the portal will also allow administrators to access a content centre with business tools, articles for continuing education and a forum to connect with fellow SME travel administrators.
Companies with less than 250 employees and up to US$50 million in revenue, and that spend at least $5,000 with IHG annually, are welcome to join IHG Business Edge. This will give them discounted rates at participating hotels across IHG’s portfolio of more than 5,400 properties across 15 brands.
Travel administrators can apply at businessedge.ihg.com.