Once replete with independent brands, the luxury hotel sector has consolidated drastically over the past two years. After absorbing previous sources of competition, Accor and Marriott enterprises face an immediate challenge in consolidating technology platforms and standardizing digital best practices. Meanwhile, smaller brands are fighting back with innovative initiatives like enhanced digital check-in, chat and text-based concierge services, and external partnerships that offer guests exclusive experiences.
Out of 49 luxury hotel brands tracked, these are the top 10 digital performers in the US, according to L2’s Digital IQ Index: Luxury Hotels.
1. Marriott International Inc. Digital IQ: 150
Far ahead of its peers, Marriott boasts a best-in-class booking experience and the largest email list size in the Index. It was the only Index brand to crack into the top 10 sites appearing in organic Google search results. When it comes to retention, the brand secures strong open rates by targeting users with abandoned reservations, sending point expiry alerts, and gamifying elements of the rewards program to keep customer connections intact.
2. Four Seasons Digital IQ: 143
A leader in mobile optimization, this Genius brand demonstrates low-touch, high-impact customer service by allowing guests to send and receive instant messages with property teams throughout their stay on a mobile app that is both feature-rich and lightweight. Despite promoting 33% fewer posts than most aggressive brands, Four Seasons secures the highest share of voice on Facebook and shines in content creation overall with Index-leading performance across all social channels.
3. Hilton Digital IQ: 138
Already one of the most visible brands across paid results for unbranded keywords, Hilton bids on branded terms for 23% of competitors. Its large international footprint and broad range of amenities and price points permit the brand to compete against a wide set of hotel companies, making it a veritable threat to a significant portion of the Index. Furthermore, its knack for digital innovation, including smart room features, help establish a platform for greater guest personalization.
4. Fairmont Digital IQ: 137
As a young and digitally forward brand, Fairmont benefits from agile technology and advanced infrastructure. Having invested heavily in various forms of content, including video, the brand still manages to maintain one of the fastest desktop load times in the Index. Additionally, it uses the email newsletter to collect data on nine potential areas of interest, giving the newly acquired brand a leg up in segmentation.
4. Sheraton Digital IQ: 137
Thanks to an expansive MLB campaign, Sheraton was able to become one of the top three video advertisers this summer. The Gifted brand also secured second-highest visibility on Kayak, trailing only Hilton.
6. JW Marriott Digital IQ: 133
The third installment of short film Two Bellmen marks JW Marriott’s push into content marketing. This, paired with upgrades to the brand’s mobile app, allows the brand to soar to success within the Gifted group.
7. Intercontinental Digital IQ: 131
With the highest paid visibility on Google Hotel Finder across international destinations, Intercontinental flourishes as one of the top paid performers on YouTube. Additionally, the brand’s use of a chatbot to combat customer service outages contributes to a smooth booking experience no matter how far down the purchase funnel a customer is.
8. Westin Digital IQ: 130
Westin is a winner in customer loyalty, with a best-in-class Preferred Guest program, robust brand site content, and UGC-rich features sourced from Instagram.
9. Sofitel Digital IQ: 122
Sofitel successfully stands out with one of the most rigorous, transparent views of benefits by status tier, active partners, and point redemption — all prior to sign-up.
9. The Ritz-Carlton Digital IQ: 122
The Ritz-Carlton uses social media to build buzz and a community, illustrated by its #80Stays campaign which featured influencer-created Instagram Stories, and its well-integrated wedding packages, which extended to #RCMemories content.