L2Think Tank, which delivers digital innovation insights from across industries, has released their latest Digital IQ Index for Hotels.
W Hotels came out on top of the last Index, which was the only hotel brand to land in the "genius" category. Given the cohesiveness of the user experience, the integration of digital initiatives across platforms, and a robust mobile application, the brand was able to leapfrog all competitors in the space.
This time, however, was more surprising, as the report focused less on the polished upscale brands and more on the workaday hotel brands competing for share among both road warriors and mid-market travelers. The analysis looks at the following categories for the rankings: 30% comes from the website, 30% is determined from looking at the digital marketing efforts, 25% from mobile and 15% is pegged to a brand's social media efforts.
Two mid-range brands excelled in this particular digital intelligence quotient analysis: Best Western and Holiday Inn were the only members of the "digital genius" category.
The brand breakdown shows significant opportunity for most economy hotel chains, as their digital initiatives proved lacking under this particular rubrik.
While not entirely surprising, given the focus on value of the economy properties (thus more pressure to cut costs), these brands do have the potential to look up to the mid-market chains for poachable marketing approaches.
By increasing the impact of their digital initiatives, these brands could very well increase their overall revenues by simply investing more efficiently in digital.
The parent company brands also showed how certain corporate cultures are excelling digitally when compared to others. Corporate parent companies that provide tools across properties - such as IHG's verified user reviews - really do provide a leg up to their subsidiaries as far as evolving digital strategy alongside shifting consumer needs.
The report emphasizes this fact very clearly:
"With the exception of Best Western and La Quinta, every brand in the Gifted and Genius classes belongs to a multibrand organization that leverages investments across site, mobile, and digital technology platforms. Disparities among brands within the same portfolio are low, averaging just 14 Digital IQ points, versus 30 points in our January 2013 Digital IQ Index®: Luxury Hotels report.18 Every portfolio, with the exception of the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group and America’s Best Franchising, tallies an average IQ in the Gifted range."
This means that independent hotels have an even-larger uphill climb when it comes to dedicating sufficient resources to successful digital marketing implementation.
In regards to engagement on social media, the report also highlighted the spread of interaction on networks like Facebook. YouTube continues to be the least popular of networks, with 40% of brands surprisingly absent from Instagram. This is strange, as these two platforms are especially engaging visually.
As far as standout marketing initiatives - or "flashes of genius," as the report says - DoubleTree's DTour, Holiday Inn Express' "Stay Smart," and La Quinta's mobile app were all recognized.
More information on the report is available here, and a video highlighting the current state of hotels is below.
NB: Social collage image courtesy Shutterstock.