In L2’s inaugural Prestige 100®: Mobile IQ Index, we found that as a category, hotel brands’ overall mobile competence was second only to specialty retail brands’. Our recently released second annual Digital IQ: Hotels Index confirms that trend. Just yesterday, Nielsen announced that 50 percent of new U.S. mobile phone purchases are now smartphones. Of those smartphone users, nearly one third are projected to research travel on their devices this year and 15 percent will actually use them to book travel.
L2’s year-over-year data shows that hotel brands are catching on: 68 percent of brands have iPhone apps (up from 54 percent in 2011), 44 percent of brands have iPad apps (up from 12 percent from 2011), and 46 percent of brands have an Android app (up from just 10 percent last year). Surprisingly, mobile site adoption only increased three percent to 66 percent.
Individual brands and enterprises have distinguished themselves considerably. IHG’s (InterContinental Hotel Group) Priority Club Rewards app allows prospective guests to book rooms at InterContinental properties on iOS, Android, BlackBerry and Windows devices. The enterprise has seven additional apps for iOS, including the innovative Concierge Insider Guides, which explores more than 120 global hotels, curated by the local concierge at each. The app encourages users to check room availability and to make reservations digitally.
As a result of these efforts, IHG’s revenues from mobile bookings in 2011 exceeded initial forecasts of $130 million–up from $38 million in 2010 and $2.5 million in 2009.