L2’s Digital IQ Index: Prestige Hotels examines the digital competence of 66 Luxury, Upper Upscale and Upscale hotel brands. Analyzing over 850 data-points across site, ecommerce, social media and mobile & tablet, the study highlights brands that are thriving and struggling as hotel guests become increasingly influenced by digital.
As the global economy recovers from recession and travel expenditures return to pre-2009 levels, the biggest winners have been Google and travel firms born of zeroes and ones. The search engine now garners five percent of its total revenue from two firms: Priceline.com and Expedia; and Travel is its third biggest sector behind Financial Services and Retail. In addition, TripAdvisor and Airbnb, founded in 2000 and 2008, respectively, boast larger market values than Hyatt Hotels Corporation, InterContinental Hotels Group and Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts.
1. W Hotels
Digital IQ: 152
W Hotels’ site features user generated content on brand and property pages. The only Starwood brand-specific app, the W Hotels iPhone app allows guests to order in-room dining, stream music playlists and post directly to social media. The brand has high visibility across search and metasearch and smartphones are expected to replace room keys at W Hotels by 2015.
Digital IQ: 142
Westin Hotels leverages the Starwood platform for room matching based on personal preferences. Online restaurant booking and e-commerce are available through the Westin Store. The brand caters to workout junkies by syndicating RunWESTIN Concierge training tips across its channels and a machine that dispenses running gear from vending machines.
3. Sheraton Hotels & Resorts
Digital IQ: 140
Sheraton Hotels & Resorts sends several emails post-booking to engage guests and highlight upgrade offers. The brand integrates UGC into custom Facebook tab for Sheraton Social Hour using the #socialhour hashtag. It amplifies its strong social presence by Facebook retargeting and Instagram sponsored posts.
4. St. Regis
Digital IQ: 139
5. Le Meridien
Digital IQ: 134
Le Meridien’s local property pages include destination content, swipeable image galleries, and local transportation information. Its properties rank on average 85% on Expedia.com. The mobile site leverages the Starwood platform to provide directions in local languages and help guests navigate to new destinations.
6. HYATT (Tie)
Digital IQ: 129
HYATT boasts sophisticated email marketing. Booking confirmation emails promote the brands’s loyalty program and credit cards as well as add ons and upgrades to generate incremental revenue. Reservations are stored in iPhone Passbook for easy accessibility, and the #hyatt hashtag is the second most-used on Instagram.
6. InterContinental (Tie)
Digital IQ: 129
Intercontinental actively leverages TripAdvisor and Kayak metasearch to drive traffic to brand site for booking. One-hundred percent of its property sites are translated to German, Spanish and Chinese. It is one of two brands that respond to 100% of complaints tweeted to their customer service account (@IHGCare).
Digital IQ: 129
Marriott experiences strong site traffic and high organic search visibility. The “Travel Brilliantly” campaign invites guests to share ideas for hotel experience improvement. The company has best-in-class email marketing and loyalty programs, and wins the Facebook fan race with 1.5 million likes. Its videos – part of the Travel Brilliantly campaign – capture the top three positions for most-viewed Luxury Hotel videos on YouTube.
9. The Luxury Collection
Digital IQ: 128
The Luxury Collection leverages the Starwood platform to delivery brand site experience in nine languages. Destination content highlights experiences of well-known influencers, and the YouTube channel is one of the top 10 most viewed channels among Index brands.
10. Four Seasons
Digital IQ: 122
Extraordinary Experiences is Four Seasons’ latest content launch, which is a curated set of immersive destination activities. Through videos and vignettes, guests can explore experiences by region or type, watch highlights from hotel and attraction staff, or read about the destination through an interactive guide. Four Seasons also experiments with location pins on Pinterest and tops all brands in followers on the platforms.