Marriott is leading the competition to buy Starwood Hotels & Resorts. While Starwood flirted briefly last week with a group bid led by China’s Anbang Insurance Group, the company said today that it would accept Marriott’s new offer of $13.6 billion.

The merger would bring together two digital leaders in the hotel space. Marriott holds the top spot in L2’s Digital IQ Index: Luxury Hotels, while the Starwood portfolio receives top honors among multi-brand enterprises, with no brands registering a Digital IQ below 120.

Digital IQ Scores

Marriott earns its Genius ranking thanks to savvy investments in video content and social media – Marriott was the first hotel brand on Snapchat – as well as in the critical realm of search visibility. Most leisure travelers begin planning a trip “totally undecided” on accommodations and type in broad, destination-related search terms, making it imperative for Hotel brands to show up at the top of those results. Marriott maintains impressive organic visibility for terms like city names across a range of test markets.


Meanwhile, Starwood maintains best practices across its portfolio. Brand sites consistently stand out with regards to booking search and property pages; the latter integrate user-generated content pulled from Instagram, providing users with an in-depth look at properties sortable to match their specific interests. The gallery also expertly combines content and commerce by adding a large “Book Now” button to each image. As the bidding for Starwood heats up, the eventual buyer will benefit from these strategic investments in digital.




Daily Insights in Your Inbox

Edit your preferences or unsubscribe