In the past few years, Luxury Hotel brands have benefited from a robust travel market and rising room rates. However, the growing threat posed by disrupters like Airbnb makes it essential for brands in the category to strengthen their digital presence. L2’s Digital IQ Index: Luxury Hotels makes clear that many are doing so. The percentage of brands ranked “Average” increased as the percentage of “Feeble” brands declined, suggesting that even digital laggards are taking steps to avoid falling behind their more competent peers.
1. Marriott Digital IQ: 140
The brand maintained its top spot for the second year in a row thanks to impressive mobile and content investments. Marriott’s mobile app includes features such as in-app check-in, mobile concierge, and keyless entry; the brand has also partnered with photographers and travel writers to publish a series of city guides featuring local destinations alongside Marriott Hotels properties. Additionally, Marriott solicits UGC from followers across its social media platforms and highlights top submissions on the “Travel Brilliantly” microsite.
2. Hilton Digital IQ: 137
As in 2015, Hilton follows close behind in second place, propelled by incremental investments in site localization and personalization on mobile apps. The brand has also been innovative on social platforms. In April 2015, Hilton became the first brand to stream a concert live on Periscope when it streamed the latest installment of the Hilton @PLAY series featuring Nick Jonas.
3. Mandarin Oriental Digital IQ: 132
The luxury brand moved up two places in L2’s ranking based on brilliant integration of UGC and ambassador content across platforms. Additionally, the best-in-class mobile site features strong in-destination content and activity booking capability.
4. InterContinental Digital IQ: 128
InterContinental tied for fourth place thanks to efficient innovations such as its streamlined booking process, which offers live chat and sends confirmation SMS. In addition, the brand’s mobile app delivers solid functionality and loyalty integration.
4. W Hotels Digital IQ: 128
W Hotels is one of only three brands in the Index with an active presence on Snapchat, going the extra mile to create custom geofilters to better engage the platform’s primarily millennial users. Moreover, the “W Insider” program connects guests with local ambassadors for the inside scoop on local activities, events, and venues.
6. Ritz-Carlton Digital IQ: 127
The brand’s responsive design site features solid technology and loyalty integration. The Ritz-Carlton also recorded several accomplishments on social platforms, including robust growth and engagement on Facebook and Instagram – standing far above multiple competitors in the category.
7. Westin Digital IQ: 122
While other brands in the Starwood portfolio slipped in this year’s ranking, Westin escaped by distinguishing itself on social platforms. For example, the #runwithaview campaign leveraged ambassador reach to generate 3.3 million social impressions and 94,000 engagements.
8. Waldorf Astoria Digital IQ: 121
Customer service is a strong point for Waldorf Astoria. The brand is one of the Index leaders on TripAdvisor with an 82% response rate, responding to any review after an average 3.8 days. It also boasts a world-class loyalty program that is also integrated with the brand’s innovative mobile app platform.
9. Fairmont Digital IQ: 120
Fairmont boasts consistent digital excellence across the board, led by strong advertising and the ongoing success of the “Fairmont Moments” campaign. The brand has also established a separate microsite to showcase and solicit UGC.
9. Four Seasons Digital IQ: 120
The brand’s impressive debut mobile app features a beautiful user interface and robust functionality, although some bugs need to be fixed. Four Seasons is also the Index leader on Instagram, with respect to both growth and engagement.
9. Shangri-La Digital IQ: 120
Christmas campaigns can be strategic digital investments, as Shangri-La found with its “A World of Christmas Warmth” multi-platform animated video campaign. The video earned millions of impressions in under a month and increased the brand’s Instagram and WeChat followers by 20% and 40%, respectively.
9. St. Regis Digital IQ: 120
The brand joins the top ten this year in large part due to its top-notch loyalty program, which offers superior flexibility and allows members to bid on unique experiences. For added convenience, the program seamlessly integrates with the St. Regis mobile app.