IC using COVID to deny RA benefits

Old May 25, 20, 10:39 pm
  #1  
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IC using COVID to deny RA benefits

Has there been any official communication from IHG about benefits for RAs since COVID? I was told by the IC Double Bay in Sydney's East that some RA benefits would be on hold as instructed by IHG head office until the end of the year. Specifically, no Club access for RA's. I have not seen any communication about this though and doubt this to be true.

Then the question is whether given that the hotel has a dedicated Club lounge but hasdecided to close their Club lounge for the time being (even though technically there are no government restrictions and they could have up to 20 people in the Club depending on m2 size...but I never have seen more than 12 people in that Club anyway in the past), would RAs then not be entitled to the US$100 per day to compensate for lack of Club acccess:

"A Restaurant & Bar or Spa credit of up to USD100 per night, not to exceed the Club InterContinental upgrade supplement value."

Even the US$100 would not compensate for lack of Club, of course, because you would not be able to buy breakfast, afternoon tea and dinner drinks/canapees for two people but at least it would be something to compensate.
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Old May 25, 20, 10:58 pm
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It is completely reasonable for these benefits to be put on hold. It should be obvious why hotel clubs are closed, so I don’t think you have much of a case, and there’s certainly no need to inform you about this in advance.
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Old May 26, 20, 12:54 am
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What you are saying might be correct for other countries but certainly in Australia with pubs, clubs and restaurants having reopened (albeit with limits based on size), the decision to close the Club lounge by this hotel is their own decision in order to maybe reduce staff costs. If the hotel industry wants paying guests, then at least they should be creative and offer alternative benefits which might cost them less than opening the Club again. Otherwise the hotels will remain empty for a very long time and staff will still remain without pay putting further pressure on hotels to save costs elsewhere. It's going to be a downward spiral from there...
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Old May 26, 20, 1:04 am
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I don't think it's at all unreasonable to accept that some perks are temporarily suspended during this pandemic. I don't like sandwiches and plastic water bottles in business class, but I accept that, at the moment, this is the status quo. Since I doubt anyone specifically chooses one hotel over another because of the availability of a club lounge, it seems a reasonable decision by the hotel to reduce the associated costs.
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Old May 26, 20, 1:34 am
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Originally Posted by LondonElite View Post
I don't think it's at all unreasonable to accept that some perks are temporarily suspended during this pandemic. I don't like sandwiches and plastic water bottles in business class, but I accept that, at the moment, this is the status quo. Since I doubt anyone specifically chooses one hotel over another because of the availability of a club lounge, it seems a reasonable decision by the hotel to reduce the associated costs.
this might be reasonable. In that case I would expect as a good business practice to inform potential guests upfront about that decision, as the benefits associated to status might be a decisive factor when choosing a property. Another question to consider is, if they are still selling club rooms
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Old May 26, 20, 1:40 am
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That seems reasonable. Perhaps throwing up a note on the website or an email to all members might do the trick.
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Old May 26, 20, 3:44 am
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Originally Posted by LondonElite View Post
I don't think it's at all unreasonable to accept that some perks are temporarily suspended during this pandemic. I don't like sandwiches and plastic water bottles in business class, but I accept that, at the moment, this is the status quo. Since I doubt anyone specifically chooses one hotel over another because of the availability of a club lounge, it seems a reasonable decision by the hotel to reduce the associated costs.
Two comments:

First, I'm not sure I buy the assertion that nobody "specifically chooses one hotel over another because of the availability of a club lounge" ... isn't that precisely what much of FT discussion is focused on ... which hotel will give me the best bang for my (elite) buck?

Second, the travel industry desperately needs things to start moving again. Individual hotels and chains need guests to return. Cutting benefits seems to be a very poor strategy if you're trying to lure back guests. By all means, if government regulation requires closure of facilities, there's nothing the hotel can do. In contrast, telling elites the lounge is closed (for business reasons) and you're not getting any replacement benefits (e.g., breakfast and evening cocktails at a venue that is open) is not smart. Some of the things that have been reported on the Marriott forum, like denying 4PM checkout (in a hotel with 10% occupancy) is mindbogglingly stupid. FWIW, I traveled a lot more this year than most people (72 hotel nights YTD), and although I've been home for over 6 weeks now, I had a number of dismal hotel experiences in March (including the otherwise very solid Sheraton Sydney, which had closed its lounge and provided a subpar replacement benefit). If I were to travel to Sydney again these next few months, there's zero chance I'd stay at the Sheraton (or, having read the OP, the IC Doube Bay), and likewise I'd tell anyone who asks not to stay there.

I think the bottom line is, a large number of people are in no rush to travel again, but a handful are itching to get out. Welcoming them with, "you're getting a room, but your usual benefits are limited or suspended" will mean that one stay is it; these guests will either realize that it's a bad year for travel, or if they travel again, just book as free agents, without allegiance to a specific program. So in contrast to what you're saying, I think making sure that elite members have a great experience despite the legal/practical constrains is of utmost importance. Once you've driven people to stay home or book Airbnb or Priceline, they're not gonna help you out of this slump.
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Old May 26, 20, 3:58 am
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I think you are taking what I'm saying slightly out of context. What I said (or meant to convey) was that it seemed reasonable to me that some hotel areas are closed, either for health and safety reasons, or because of a cut in the budget or staffing, for a period of time. So I can accept that, say, a sauna is closed, even though that may have been the number one reason for me to choose that hotel. I would also understand if hotels currently do not allow people to sit at a bar. These things will come back, just give it a bit of time.

As far as choosing a hotel is concerned, yes, I am aware that some people would select a flea-infested sleeping bag if it came with double points, but most people I know choose to stay in a hotel they like for whatever budget they have. They don't let the tail wag the dog. But yes, ceteris paribus, I would choose a hotel with a lounge over one that doesn't.
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Old May 26, 20, 3:59 am
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I stayed at a Hilton in Jakarta in late March. A couple of weeks before my stay, they emailed me notifying me that the club was closed, but a substitute lounge would be held in their main restaurant.

Upon arriving, it was exactly as stated. 4 days in, they closed the restaurant. They provided afternoon cakes/tea, breakfast, and happy hour food and drinks via room service. Not a tiny continental breakfast either, but anything they normally serve in their restaurants. For 10 more days of our stay, they were very accommodating, and we couldnít have asked for more, even though the hotel was less than 10% occupied.

Hotel properties that go the extra mile in these difficult times, will be remembered for many years. Properties that use it as an excuse to shortchange you, will only be remembered for that.

Once properties are open, Iíll gladly book a week or two at the good property.
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Old May 26, 20, 4:13 am
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Originally Posted by Jaimito Cartero View Post
Hotel properties that go the extra mile in these difficult times, will be remembered for many years. Properties that use it as an excuse to shortchange you, will only be remembered for that.
👏👏👏 so true! This does not stand in the hotel branch only but to all branches of travel!
Those who go for the extra miles for their pax, guests, cutomers etc in such difficult times will not only be remembered but a sense of 'loyal bond" has been established. For the rest..I remember one German FTer said in such cases, nobody cares, if a sack of rice spills over
in China!..
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Old May 26, 20, 6:50 pm
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Originally Posted by Sydfly View Post
Has there been any official communication from IHG about benefits for RAs since COVID? I was told by the IC Double Bay in Sydney's East that some RA benefits would be on hold as instructed by IHG head office until the end of the year. Specifically, no Club access for RA's. I have not seen any communication about this though and doubt this to be true.
Not specifically directed at RAs, but IHG have communicated that their hotels are operating with various service reductions.
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Old May 26, 20, 11:10 pm
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Originally Posted by Sydfly View Post

Then the question is whether given that the hotel has a dedicated Club lounge but hasdecided to close their Club lounge for the time being (even though technically there are no government restrictions and they could have up to 20 people in the Club depending on m2 size...but I never have seen more than 12 people in that Club anyway in the past), would RAs then not be entitled to the US$100 per day to compensate for lack of Club acccess:

"A Restaurant & Bar or Spa credit of up to USD100 per night, not to exceed the Club InterContinental upgrade supplement value."

Even the US$100 would not compensate for lack of Club, of course, because you would not be able to buy breakfast, afternoon tea and dinner drinks/canapees for two people but at least it would be something to compensate.
From the T&Cs I cannot see why there would be. The terms do not state if there is a lounge, only if the hotel is operating a lounge

Originally Posted by IHG
Complimentary Club InterContinental lounge access.i. Applicable only where the hotel has a dedicated Club InterContinental lounge.

ii. Valid for two people including the member, staying in the member's room only.

iii. Where the hotel does not operate a dedicated Club InterContinental lounge, Royal Ambassador members will be given two complimentary full breakfasts in the main restaurant per day for the member and one registered guest staying in the memberís room.

iv. The Club InterContinental lounge access Benefits Guarantee is not applicable at hotels that do not operate a dedicated Club InterContinental lounge. More information on the Benefits Guarentee can be found here
If as indicated, the lounge is non operational , then breakfast for member and a registered guest should be provided, but the $100 would not seem to be due
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Old May 27, 20, 6:52 pm
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Should probably add that the hotel did not contact me to advise on any changes. It was only because I called them to find out about restaurants/bars and other facilities when I was told that there would be no Club access. I subsequently cancelled by bookings because there was no adequate replacement benefit offered.

It's about semantics, but the hotel does have a dedicated Club lounge....they just choose not to open it. If they would not have a lounge, I agree the breakfast would be all we'd be entitled to. However, they do have a lounge and choose not to open it. Hence and especially given what others said along the lines of hotels needing to go the extra mile to please their most loyal members, they should offer equal benefits such as breakfast, afternoon tea and pre-dinner drinks in their bar instead. It's not rocket science, it's basic hospitality and I think this hotel is failing big time in this aspect. I will certainly not give them any money.
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Old May 27, 20, 7:45 pm
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Originally Posted by Sydfly View Post
Should probably add that the hotel did not contact me to advise on any changes. It was only because I called them to find out about restaurants/bars and other facilities when I was told that there would be no Club access. I subsequently cancelled by bookings because there was no adequate replacement benefit offered.

It's about semantics, but the hotel does have a dedicated Club lounge....they just choose not to open it. If they would not have a lounge, I agree the breakfast would be all we'd be entitled to. However, they do have a lounge and choose not to open it. Hence and especially given what others said along the lines of hotels needing to go the extra mile to please their most loyal members, they should offer equal benefits such as breakfast, afternoon tea and pre-dinner drinks in their bar instead. It's not rocket science, it's basic hospitality and I think this hotel is failing big time in this aspect. I will certainly not give them any money.
where did you end up booking?
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Old May 27, 20, 8:33 pm
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Originally Posted by Sydfly View Post

It's about semantics, but the hotel does have a dedicated Club lounge....they just choose not to open it.
I am sure that there are many people who would use semantics if something wasn't being provided when it should be - it works the other way to. If the hotel is not operating a lounge, then the terms do not provide for USD100 compensation

It seems like you found out in advance and was able to pick somewhere else that may better meet your needs
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