Hotel brands will live and die by the sword of digital: 2013 L2 Digital IQ Index

W Hotels Tops 2013 L2 Digital IQ Index: Hotels; Intercontinental and Westin Tie for 2nd
L2 Index measures digital aptitude of 57 hotel brands.



W Hotels, InterContinental and Westin hotels earned the top spots in third-annual Digital IQ Index: Hotels study issued by L2, a think tank for digital innovation. L2 evaluated 57 prestige brands on more than 675 data points across four dimensions: Site, Digital Marketing, Social Media, and Mobile.

Large, engaged communities and innovative programming garnered W the only Genius classification in the 2013 Index. Though W Hotels was the lone Genius in this year’s report, 37 percent of brands in the study earned Gifted status – up from 23 percent in 2012.

The study, authored by Scott Galloway, NYU Stern Clinical Professor of Marketing, and a team of researchers at L2 Think Tank, benchmarks the digital competence of 57 Hotel brands. This year’s study includes data and expertise from L2 partner SapientNitro.

Top 10 Digital IQ Rankings:
1. W Hotels
2. InterContinental
2. Westin
4. Four Seasons
4. The Luxury Collection
6. Sheraton
7. St. Regis
8. Hilton
9. Fairmont
10. The Ritz-Carlton

“In the next decade, hotel brands will live and die by the sword of digital. The influence of digital platforms and content on where a traveller decides to stay is remarkable,” said Scott Galloway, Clinical Professor of Marketing, NYU Stern, and Founder of L2 Think Tank.

Index Highlights:
Enterprise Effect: Multi-brand organizations continue to outpace independent hoteliers on digital platforms. Collectively, these larger entities have an average Digital IQ of 111, 19 points greater than independent publicly traded brands and 23 points higher than independent private brands.

Red, White & Digital: Hotel brands headquartered in North America boast significantly higher Digital IQs than their global counterparts. The biggest regional disparities were in the Asia-Pacific and the Middle East and Africa, where Digital IQs lagged 20 and 18 points, respectively.

Email Lags: Although Hotels have made small strides in email marketing in 2013, hotels continue to lag other verticals re use of email. Just four brands in the report experiment with the use of triggered abandoned cart emails.

Social: Facebook adoption is robust with all 57 brands present on the platform, and 93 percent of brands maintaining both global and property-level pages. Pinterest and Instagram have gained significant traction, with adoption rates of 96 percent and 82 percent, respectively. Google+ registers two-thirds of brands present.

Mobile: Eighty-one percent of the Hotel brands in this year’s Index have a mobile-optimized site—a YOY increase of 15 percent.

Flashes of Genius:

  • Hilton partnered with satirical news site The Onion to launch “Vaction Rx,” an online tool that diagnoses the severity of users’ “vacationitis” and prescribes remedies to cure symptoms.
  • Conrad has the first service-enabled app completely integrated with all the hotel management systems across the Hilton portfolio. The app interfaces with 20+ properties, enabling travelers to customize a wide range of amenities and services.
  • Hotel Indigo and Relais & Chateaux are leveraging Facebook fans and staff to provide insider tips, crowdsource destination guides, and propose itineraries.
  • Fairmont and One&Only, recently joined brands such as Marriott and Hyatt in offering online honeymoon registries.

The L2 Digital IQ Index is the global, seminal benchmark for digital performance of brands and the largest and most robust study of its kind. Rankings are published annually across industries including Fashion, Specialty Retail, Sportswear, Watches & Jewelry, Beauty, Travel, and Fragrance.