On-line I often have read about people concerned by using a corporate rate because they feel the hotel will be asking for identification at check-in in order to confirm eligibility for the discounted corporate rate. I found many people asking these sorts of questions and many other people replying on on-line forums that an ID is required in order to use a corporate rate. However, my experience is very different and I believe it is purely an ethical issue in cases you are not eligible to use a specific rate. Nobody would most likely ever catch you (neither anybody is motivated to catch you). On the other hand, it is a matter of what ethical standard you aim at in your personal and professional life.
In my career I have been enjoying corporate rates at hotel in many different capacities: sometimes I was an actual employee of the company that negotiated the discounted rate and therefore I had a business card and other form of identifications. However, most of the time in my career I have been using corporate rates as a consultant, contractor, supplier or customer of the company who was holding the contract with the hotel chain. Therefore, I had no form of identification and sometime the details of my relationship with the company who booked the room for me was confidential in nature. In any case the details are never the business of the receptionist at the hotel.
Typically I am asked for a form of corporate identification less than 10% of the times I have a reservation using a corporate rate. When I am actual employee I typically show my business card but when I am a contractor or supplier I just say so. No further details are needed. Typically my answer to a request of corporate ID to prove my relationship with the company holding the contract with the hotel chain sounds like “Sorry, I am a contractor/supplier/customer”. Not a single time I was asked any additional question or challenged further.
The truth is that the hotel chain itself has no interest in investigating eligibility because their business and profitability is all about occupancy. Their number one goal is fill the property in. It is the old pricing game. Let’s make an example. If we are talking about an hotel that charges a rack rate of $300 per night, they would be happy to sell rooms at $150 to fill in their property as long as their guest paying $300 per night do not get to know that. For this reasons website like Hotwire are successful. Hotwire allows hotels to sell rooms with a heavy discount and raise their occupancy without loosing margin with the price-insensitive customers willing to pay the rack rate anyway to stay at that specific place. Therefore for the same reason they are very glad to accept guests who booked with a discounted rate through a corporate deal. Moreover, corporate guests book directly with the hotel, either by phone or on the hotel website and therefore the hotel is able to save the commissions they typically pay to travel websites such as Expedia, Orbitz, Travelocity, Booking.com or any other. Commissions are very expensive, typically in the 15-25% range. Therefore providing a similar discount for a corporate client makes total business sense for the hotel chain.
The only scenario when an hotel is not happy about having guest booking with a corporate discounted rate is when they are pretty much positive that the entire hotel will be fully booked anyhow, for example in certain locations during holidays or during large conventions. You will be able to tell that immediately from the hotel website because the website will not accept the corporate code and you will be only left with the rack rate.
So should you worry about being kicked out of the hotel? Not based on my pretty extensive experience. Am I suggesting you to use corporate rates you are not eligible for? Not at all but purely because I do not feel it is ethical. However, I would suggest that you understand if you are eligible to take advantage of corporate rates because very often you do not need to be an employee of the company holding the contract with the hotel. Contractors, consultant, suppliers and customers are very often eligible as well.