Retail travel agents were once again excluded from a direct booking program, this time from Omni Hotels & Resorts.
While Omni Hotels has opened up its Say Goodnight to Hunger direct-booking campaign, which promises to make a donation to Feeding America for every stay booked directly on Omni’s website, to include meeting planners, the same offer has not been made to leisure travel agents.
Omni in May opened the program to meeting planners who book a meeting or event at any one of its 60 properties in North America, promising to contribute one meal per night for group bookings.
“We received a lot of feedback that Say Goodnight to Hunger should be permanently extended to groups, as many are looking for ways to be involved in the communities where they are holding their meetings and events,” Peter Strebel, chief marketing officer and senior vice president of sales for Omni Hotels & Resorts, said in a statement.
The company said nearly 9 million meals have been donated to help Feeding America. While the goal is admirable, it’s unclear why leisure travel advisors are left out of the program and instead sidestepping them as a distribution channel. Omni did not respond to a request for a comment by press time.
Marriott International, Hilton Worldwide, Hyatt Hotels, InterContinental Hotel Group and Choice Hotels all have launched direct-booking campaigns offering exclusive rates and other perks to their best customers, but only Marriott, Hilton and IHG have included bookings made by travel agents in their campaigns. When Choice Hotels rolled out its program, the company said it "will evaluate expansion to travel agents and plan to include input from travel managers.”