By Chuck Martin
With travelers being increasingly mobile, most luxury hotel brands are investing in hopes of keeping up with those travelers.
Mobile site investments have increased from 63% of upscale hotel brands in 2011 to 89% this year, based on a new rating.
The Digital IQ Index, a global index by L2, which is based on analyzing more than 850 data points across areas including mobile, tablets, website, digital marketing and social media, ranked the digital competence of 66 luxury and upscale hotel brands.
Hotel brands analyzed included Westin, Hyatt, Marriott, Four Seasons, Hilton, Sheraton and Ritz-Carlton, among others.
The index ranked the hotels based on the criteria of site and e-commerce (30%), digital marketing (30%), social media (10%) and mobile (30%).
The top rated hotels in the index were W, Westin and Sheraton and at the bottom of the list were Okura, Concorde Hotels and Resorts, Raffles and Langham Hotels.
One of the challenges for hotel brands is from online travel agencies. On Kayak, for example, prestige hotel brands controlled one percent of booking listings compared to 96% by online travel agencies.
The study notes that mobile users are often in transit, with most (81%) of travelers accessing directions and maps from their smartphones. However, almost half (42%) of luxury hotel brands don’t offer maps via their U.S. mobile sites.
Travelers using mobile can expect to find hotel reviews at the sites of the hotel brands, with most (61%) now carrying them up from about a quarter (24%) a year ago.
But the study did point out that mobile can play an important role in hotel activities, including those after the actual booking.
More than 60% of brands have property level mobile applications intended to enhance the customer’s stay, although they aren’t often leveraged across the broader property portfolio.
Much like retailers with physical stores, upscale hotels have a mobile advantage since they ultimately have the customer on the premises.
The opportunity is to leverage mobile to better serve that customer so that when the next booking time comes around, the actual hotel experience can influence the booking behavior.
Chuck Martin is Editor of the mCommerce Daily at MediaPost and writes the daily MobileShopTalk column. He is the author of “Mobile Influence,” “The Third Screen,” and “The Smartphone Handbook.” He is CEO of Mobile Future Institute. Chuck Martin is a frequent Mobile Keynote Speaker and Mobile Marketing Speaker internationally. He also addresses Social Media in Mobile.