Travellers miss their connection

Global research of 10,000 travellers from InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) 
reveals staying in touch with home is top priority 


    --  Lack of internet connection biggest stress for travellers
    --  Logging on to the internet helps people feel most at home in
        their hotel room
    --  Communicating with family the top way to de-stress when away
        from home

TORONTO, July 16, 2013 /CNW/ - There really is no place like home, unless it's 
a hotel which offers free internet connection according to new research from 
IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group) which has found that being able to connect 
online with family and friends is now the top priority for travellers.

The global research was commissioned to mark the launch this month of IHG's 
renamed loyalty programme, IHG® Rewards Club. It reveals that not being able 
to contact home due to lack of internet connection is now the biggest travel 
headache for people away on business, cited by 40% of travellers as their 
biggest stress factor, ahead of difficult transport links (26%) and noisy 
location (24%).

The research covered 10,000 people who travel for business worldwide. It is 
helping IHG to understand hotel guests' priorities when travelling, as it 
becomes the first and only hotel group to offer free internet access globally 
to all its loyalty members. This new benefit started with Elite members at the 
beginning of July and will roll out to all members from 2014, whether they are 
staying the night at a hotel or coming in for a coffee or impromptu meeting.

Other findings underline the importance of internet access:
    --  61% of those surveyed said that internet was the most important
        additional facility in their hotel room above TV (17%); bath
        (5%); fridge (3%) and mini bar (1%).
    --  Logging onto the internet in their room when they first arrive
        topped the list of things that help travellers feel most at
        home in their hotel room (31%), above exploring the room (25%),
        taking a hot shower (14%) or even unpacking (13%).
    --  Nearly two thirds (64%) of travellers say that they would
        prefer to communicate with people back home over the internet
        rather than using the phone.
    --  Over half of parents (53%) surveyed cited connecting with
        family at home as the best way to de-stress at the end of a
        working day.
    --  89% said that free internet would make them happier whilst
        travelling away for business.
    --  And, nearly two thirds of respondents, (65%), would be very
        unhappy travelling if they had no way of connecting with loved
        ones back home.

Relationship expert, Jenni Trent Hughes explains:

"Just hearing a voice on a telephone is no longer sufficient for the 21st 
century traveller, we need the comfort of being able to see loved ones too. We 
want to see our children's smiles when we're reading them their bedtime story 
over Skype; be able to look our partner in the eye when we tell them how much 
we miss them, as well as keep up with all our social media obligations and 
emails.

We now believe that when staying away from home, being connected with a 
minimum fuss and maximum ease is crucial for keeping our various relationships 
ticking over. When these expectations aren't met, we feel anxious and 
frustrated so it's no wonder that nowadays many of us can't relax until we are 
safely checked-in and logged-on."

Richard Solomons, Chief Executive, IHG, said:

"We understand how important it is for our guests to be able to stay in touch 
whilst travelling. That's why, alongside great existing benefits such as 
points that never expire, we have introduced free internet for our members as 
part of IHG Rewards Club. These leading benefits are why IHG Rewards Club has 
been chosen by more travellers than any other hotel loyalty programme 
worldwide.

IHG's family of brands across 4,600 hotels ranges from an award-winning 
InterContinental resort to a city-centre Holiday Inn hotel. Our scale and 
diversity means that our hotels can meet our guests' needs whatever the 
occasion - whether an overnight getaway, a business trip, a family celebration 
or a once-in-a-lifetime experience."

IHG Rewards Club, formerly Priority Club® Rewards, is the world's first and 
largest hotel loyalty programme with industry-leading benefits including no 
blackout dates for Reward Nights, fast track to Gold Elite status when guests 
explore IHG's family of nine trusted brands and points that never expire.

Visitors and guests can sign up for IHG Rewards Club and all its benefits, on 
the spot, free of charge at any IHG hotel and can find out more about the 
changes atwww.ihg.com/IHGRewardsClub.

Notes to Editors:

IHG 'Rewarding Relationships' survey carried out by OnePoll
    --  All figures unless otherwise stated are from OnePoll.
    --  10,000 adults were surveyed worldwide in Australia (1,000),
        Canada (1,000), China (1,000), France (1,000), Germany (1,000),
        Indonesia (300), Malaysia (400), Mexico (1,000), Russia
        (1,000), Singapore (300), UK (1,000) and US (1,000).
    --  Fieldwork was undertaken between 21(st) May and 14(th) June
        2013.
    --  The survey was carried out online.
    --  The figures for each country have been weighted and are
        representative of adults who travel for business (aged 18+) in
        each country.
    --  Full survey results are available on request.
    --  The number one stress factor for travellers is not being able
        to contact home due to lack of internet connection. Other
        options given were: not being able to connect home due to lack
        of internet connection; rude staff; noisy guests or location;
        difficult transport links, limited food selection, none of the
        above. This was worked out by asking all 12 markets a
        combination of 'what is their main stress when travelling' and
        'what number of things causes them stress'. The two variations
        were reviewed and compared, then weighted taking into account
        all answers in order to give a global figure of what causes the
        most stress when travelling for business. 

New member benefits include:
    --  Free internet to all Elite members from July 2013 and extending
        to all members during 2014
    --  The ability to earn Gold Elite status faster by staying for
        just 10 nights in three different IHG hotel brands
    --  Reward Nights will count toward earning Elite status
    --  Platinum Elite members' "extra" nights will roll over toward
        maintaining their status in their next membership year

Existing industry-leading benefits include:
    --  Points that never expire
    --  No blackout dates for Reward Nights, so members can stay any
        time
    --  Faster rewards by using a combination of Points & Cash
    --  Redeem points for flights on over 400 airlines with Flights
        Anywhere(TM); for hotel stays virtually anywhere with Hotels
        Anywhere; or search, book and purchase car rentals with
        well-known local and global providers at airports worldwide
        with Cars Anywhere
    --  Exclusive member-only, in-hotel perks 
    --  The IHG Rewards Club personal concierge can help guests find
        one-of-a-kind items, tickets to a sporting event or even
        favourite gadgets
    --  Plus, earn points for everyday spending with our partners and
        while shopping and dining

About IHG
IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group) [LON:IHG, NYSE:IHG (ADRs)] is a global 
organisation with a broad portfolio of nine hotel brands, including 
InterContinental® Hotels & Resorts, Hotel Indigo®, Crowne Plaza® Hotels & 
Resorts, Holiday Inn® Hotels and Resorts, Holiday Inn Express®, Staybridge 
Suites®, Candlewood Suites®, EVEN™ Hotels and HUALUXE™ Hotels & Resorts.

IHG manages IHG® Rewards Club, the world's first and largest hotel loyalty 
programme with over 73 million members worldwide. The programme was relaunched 
in July 2013, offering enhanced benefits for members including free internet 
across all hotels, globally.

IHG franchises, leases, manages or owns over 4,600 hotels and more than 
674,000 guest rooms in nearly 100 countries and territories. With more than 
1,000 hotels in its development pipeline, IHG expects to recruit around 90,000 
people into additional roles across its estate over the next few years.

InterContinental Hotels Group PLC is the Group's holding company and is 
incorporated in Great Britain and registered in England and Wales.

Visit www.ihg.com for hotel information and reservations and 
www.ihg.com/ihgrewardsclub for more on IHG® Rewards Club. For our latest 
news, visit: www.ihg.com/media, www.twitter.com/ihg, www.facebook.com/ihg or 
www.youtube.com/ihgplc.

Cassie Prosper: 416-413-4618 /cassie.prosper@hkstrategies.ca

SOURCE: IHG

To view this news release in HTML formatting, please use the following URL: 
http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/July2013/16/c7462.html

CO: IHG
ST: Quebec
NI: ECOSURV 

-0- Jul/16/2013 13:00 GMT