Ritz-Carlton and Four Seasons are the world’s most searched-for luxury hotel brands, a new study has revealed.
The Digital Luxury Group’s inaugural ‘World Luxury Index’ for hotels, which gathered information from more than 133 million online searches, found that Four Seasons was the most sought-after standalone luxury hotel brand, and Ritz-Carlton was the preferred luxury brand which formed part of a larger hotel group. Loews and Shangri-La completed the top three of standalone brands, while InterContinental and Fairmont were identified as the second and third most searched-for integrated brands.
In addition, the study found that Hilton is the most popular hotel brand in the upper-upscale segment, ahead of Sheraton and Westin.
Monitoring the number of luxury hotel searches undertaken in 2012, the World Luxury Index found that interest in high-end hotels increased slightly, up 1.5% on a global level. Interest from consumers in Russia (+12.8%) and the UK (+8.5%), saw strong growth, while a 3.3% rise in Chinese searches also exceeded the global average.
Despite this growth, the US remains by far the largest market for luxury hotels, with the country accounting for 66.3% of global online searches. New York remains top destination for luxury hospitality destinations worldwide, ahead of Chicago and London, while the UK capital, Washington DC and Dubai were the fastest growing destinations.
“The luxury hotel market is very heterogeneous from one market to the other,” commented Samad Laaroussi, chair of luxury hospitality of Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne, who presented the results at the Luxury Hospitality Summit 2013 in Switzerland. “In the three categories, emerging markets are showing increasing interest for luxury hotel brands and the US market is by far the dominant market with the most connected and savviest consumers.”
The study also showed the strength of the upper-upscale sector, which accounted for 76.2% of high-end hotel searches, compared to 20.5% for luxury standalone and just 3.3% for luxury integrated hotels. And within this sector, Hilton was found to be the dominant player, ranking top in the US, UK, Russia, Brazil, Germany and Italy, and second in China, France and Japan.
Taking all three categories together, Hilton was the most searched-for company, ahead of Starwood and Hyatt. Marriott, which operates the Ritz-Carlton brand, was fourth and Four Seasons fifth.
The ‘World Luxury Index’ for hotels covered more than 133m online searches across 70 high-end hotel brands, on sites including Google, Baidu and Bing.