L2 believes Digital IQ translates to shareholder value, and nowhere is that more apparent than in the hospitality industry where there is an evident path from direct site bookings to profits. Each brand.com booking costs hotel brands $2 to $5, and each telephone booking costs $6 to $10. Meanwhile, a reservation made on an OTA site such as Expedia or Travelocity $40 to $120.
After the recession, Genius brand Four Seasons was able to leverage digital competency to turn its business around. The brand was forced to eliminate its entire traditional media budget after taking a hit in the recession, and found dropping print and trade publication ads had just a small effect on their brand performance. Four Seasons launched user reviews in 2010, and was among the 17% of brands that featured them on their sites. Those brands sent 39% less traffic to unprofitable OTAs by enabling travelers to make purchase decisions on brand sites.
Four Seasons spent an estimated $18 million on a relaunched brand site to include more destination resources and user-generated content than anybody else in the industry. Four Seasons bounced back as a result of all these steps, and is expected to open 20 new properties between 2013 and 2015.