IHG Partners with China UnionPay, Pioneering a New Era of Digital Payments in the Hotel Industry

IHG is the first international hotel group in Greater China to support UnionPay pre-authorized bookings without card presence, introducing digital convenience in hospitality

Shanghai – IHG Hotels & Resorts announces a strategic partnership with China UnionPay that offers a new level of digital convenience for travellers in Greater China. Through this partnership, holders of both domestically and internationally issued UnionPay credit cards can now complete pre-authorization without card presence for online reservations through IHG’s direct channels, such as the IHG APP and WeChat mini-program. This new development establishes IHG as the first international hotel group in Greater China to officially embrace UnionPay pre-authorization without card presence for online bookings, marking a momentous milestone for the hotel industry. This enhancement significantly elevates the convenience of travellers’ hotel booking experiences, while injecting more dynamism into the strategic layout of digitalization by empowering the brand value system. Currently, 12 hotels have implemented this feature.

Victor Gao, Vice President, China Digital & Global Innovation, IHG Greater China, said, “Driven by the constant pursuit of innovation, IHG continues to advance the development of digital applications and market-leading business engines. Through technological empowerment, we aim to provide guests with more convenient booking experiences while offering our partners efficient and intelligent operational and marketing solutions. This collaboration with UnionPay is based on our respective industry-leading practices, as we have pioneered an online payment solution tailored to hotel bookings. Together, we are actively driving productivity and providing enhanced quality-of-life measures through digital means.”

Hu Haozhong, Executive Vice President, China UnionPay, said, “This solution from China UnionPay and IHG caters to both local consumers’ behaviours and online booking preferences for foreign visitors to China. The streamlined payment process and tailored payment methods bridge transaction discrepancies between domestic and international use cases. This collaboration supports hotels to efficiently manage convenient payment services for foreign visitors, setting the benchmark for payment solutions in the hotel industry. Moving forward, we will continue collaborating to enhance customer engagement, leveraging resources from commercial banks, hotel loyalty programs, and consumption vouchers from the government to promote popular and enjoyable high-quality services and activities.”

 

Building on Local Foundations to Drive Smart Tourism with Convenient Digital Payments

From online booking to the development of immersive hotel experiences, digital technology has significantly enhanced the diversity and convenience of travel. Now, IHG Greater China has pioneered UnionPay domestic credit card pre-authorization for direct online booking at 12 hotels in first-tier cities and popular tourist destinations such as Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Chengdu, Zhuhai, and Sanya. The cooperation with UnionPay further drives the development of smart tourism in these destinations and unleashes the potential for additional growth and development in the hotel market.

This collaboration provides travellers with a convenient and fast booking method, enhancing payment efficiency while also benefitting properties. Leveraging UnionPay’s vast user base ensures a stable source of customers, offering hotels greater revenue opportunities. Particularly in destinations like Sanya, which are highly popular year-round, the endorsement of UnionPay pre-authorized bookings without card presence will undoubtedly help hotels stand out amidst a competitive market. IHG will continue to cooperate closely with UnionPay, driving the implementation of this feature across its hotels in Greater China.

 

Looking Globally, Promoting Inbound Tourism Through Streamlined Measures

Since last year, the number of countries in China’s visa-free program has continued to expand, significantly driving the growth of inbound tourism. To further enhance the hotel booking experience for inbound tourists, IHG has also worked together with China UnionPay to facilitate the acceptance of international UnionPay cards for online bookings at its hotels, making the payment experiences at its hotels more convenient and efficient. This means that IHG’s iconic hotels in Greater China will have more opportunities to step into the international tourism spotlight, creating unforgettable experiences for guests worldwide.