08 August 2016

Bargain hunters with backlog demands: this is how Germans book

39 percent of German hotel bookers falsely believe they always get the lowest rate by booking through online travel agencies, according to a forsa survey commissioned by InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG).  However travellers can often find the lowest price by going directly on the websites of the hotels: by booking this way they can save up to 10 percent.

When planning a holiday, Germans turn into bargain hunters: Four out of five travellers (84 percent) search and compare many different offers before they make their decision. These findings are a result of a survey carried out by the research institute forsa and commissioned by InterContinental Hotels Group.  Every fifth respondent (22 percent) sleeps over it a couple of nights before taking a decision. No wonder that 41 percent stated that when it comes to hotel booking, they are especially annoyed when it turns out later that the price they paid for the room was not the cheapest. The survey also shows that 39 percent of hotel bookers prefer to book their room via online travel agencies. Only every fifth traveller (22 percent) chooses to book directly via the website of the hotel.

Insider tip: loyalty programmes

Birte Carstens, Marketing Manager, IHG, commented: “Our research shows that many consumers don’t exactly know how online travel agencies earn their money.Notwithstanding, 39 percent think they get the lowest rates via digital travel platforms – which is not always the case.All major hotel groups have loyalty programmes which offer guests special rates. Those who book their rooms directly via the hotel website as members of loyalty programmes, like IHG® Rewards Club, can save up to ten percent.”

In addition to lower prices, these programmes also include further benefits such as free WIFI or late checkout. Germans don’t seem to be aware of the advantages: according to the survey every second German (54 percent) is a member in a supermarket loyalty programme, but only every tenth (9 percent) collects hotel points. At the same time, 59 percent of holiday makers would change the usual way they book at a price difference of 10 Euros per night. 

Price practices are being examined

IHG Research shows that quite often not all available hotel room rates are shown on Online Travel Agent sites, meaning consumers don’t always get the full picture. Hotel rates offered to members of hotel loyalty groups, for example, are often the guaranteed lowest rate for consumers but wouldn’t necessarily be offered by an Online Travel Agency. While it’s always worth shopping around, it pays to check direct.  The Federal Cartel Office is currently looking into restrictions of competition in online booking and has taken action to prevent leading OTA’s from unfair price practices when it comes to room rates. Similar developments are taking place in other European countries as well. In France OTA’s have been banned from insisting they have the same rates as hotels . If these laws were reflected in Germany, hotels would have significantly more flexibility considering their prices, which would benefit consumers. Even without these changes in the law, IHG research reveals that guests could already save more than 20 Million Euro a year,  if they book direct. This is due to the Lowest price Promise by IHG that has been introduced, guaranteeing the lowest prices to IHG Rewards Club members who book direct via the website.

Further results of the survey:

  • 39 percent of Germans believe they get the lowest fares by booking via Online Travel Agencies. Every fifth (20 percent) believes to get the lowest fares by booking directly on the hotel website. Only 10 percent believe they get the cheapest rooms in their local travel agency.
  • German hotel travellers book where they expect the cheapest rates: 39 percent prefer online travel agencies. Every fifth (22 percent) books directly on the hotel website, 18 percent in travel agencies.
  • When choosing a hotel, the majority of respondents especially care about location (85 percent), price (81 percent). Further criteria are facilities (65 percent), online reviews (56 percent) as well as recommendations by friends or relatives (35 percent).
  • 23 percent of German hotel travellers have a fixed holiday budget which they mostly meet. 55 percent have no fixed budget. People from Hamburg mostly meet their budget (26 percent).
  • 41 percent say they are especially annoyed when they find out, they haven’t paid the lowest price for their hotel room. In Munich more people are annoyed (47 percent), while in Cologne travellers are more relaxed (25 percent).


For further information please contact:

Iman Denney-Brown
+44 (0) 1895 512 267

Ciara Dixon
+1 (770) 604 2005

About IHG®

IHG® (InterContinental Hotels Group) [LON:IHG, NYSE:IHG (ADRs)] is a global organisation with a broad portfolio of hotel brands, including InterContinental® Hotels & ResortsKimpton® Hotels & RestaurantsHUALUXE® Hotels and ResortsCrowne Plaza® Hotels & ResortsHotel Indigo®EVEN® HotelsHoliday Inn® Hotels & ResortsHoliday Inn Express®Staybridge Suites® and Candlewood Suites®.

IHG franchises, leases, manages or owns more than 5,000 hotels and nearly 750,000 guest rooms in almost 100 countries, with more than 1,400 hotels in its development pipeline. IHG also manages IHG® Rewards Club, the world’s first and largest hotel loyalty programme with more than 96 million members worldwide.

InterContinental Hotels Group PLC is the Group’s holding company and is incorporated in Great Britain and registered in England and Wales. More than 350,000 people work across IHG’s hotels and corporate offices globally.

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