NEW YORK -- Enforcing its new standards for Web distribution,
InterContinental Hotels Group, as expected, pulled its inventory
from Expedia and Hotels.com last week, cutting off 75 owned and
managed properties and numerous franchisees from two of the biggest
sales outlets on the Web.
InterContinental decided to stop selling merchant rooms on the
two sites in August because they didnt agree to adhere to the hotel
companys Web standards. InterContinental is making exceptions for
some properties that had contracts in place prior to Mays
implementation of the Web standards, which cover various
technology, trademark, price transparency and consumer issues.
But the company said it will punish franchisees -- including
pulling their flags -- if they refuse to comply.
The two Web sites, both units of IAC/InterActiveCorp, are
continuing to sell rooms for an unknown number of InterContinentals
franchisees. Some have waivers; others may not be complying
with the initiative.
One property in the Southwest sold about 5,000 room nights and
collected more than $500,000 in revenue through sales on Expedia
and Hotels.com last year and is awaiting word on a waiver request
to keep working with the two sites.
In the meantime, one official at the hotel said, "Its going to
affect us, but were in a good market so we can pick up room nights
in other ways.
"Itll take a couple of months and then well recover. I think it
will [have a bigger impact] on smaller hotels that dont have group
Jim Young, InterContinentals senior vice president of global
distribution, said the company has taken steps to assist
franchisees. "To offset any immediate revenue loss, we have
developed comprehensive, alternative channel-enhancement
initiatives to assist properties which may be impacted," he
Overall, he said online travel booked through Expedia and
Hotels.com amounted to 1% of the companys revenue. Certifying Web
distributors is "a long-term investment," he said.
In addition to certifying Travelocity, Site59, Hotwire and
Priceline, InterContinental has given the thumbs up to Asia-based
Wotif.com and U.K.-headquartered LastMinute.com.
Young said InterContinental is evaluating hundreds of other
distributors and is "very comfortable with the pace, as we are
negotiating on behalf of more than 3,500 hotels worldwide."
reporter Dennis Schaal, send e-mail to [email protected]