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- 18 Jun 2013
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Hilton, Ritz Carlton & Four Seasons Lead Share of Online Luxury Hotel Search


US consumers continue to express the largest interest for hotel brands, as Chinese travellers become the fastest growing luxury hospitality consumers globally

At the Luxury Hospitality Think Tank 2013, an event organized by International Herald Tribune and Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne (EHL), the results of the World Luxury Index™ Hotels were unveiled for the first time, as part of the ongoing World Luxury Index™ series.

The international ranking and analysis of the most sought-after hotel brands within the luxury industry covers 70 luxury hotel brands within 10 key luxury markets and provides insights on the interest coming from luxury consumers. The unbiased information is derived from 133 million consumer online searches.

 US consumers express the largest interest for hotel brands globally 

Global Interest Remains Stable

Global interest for luxury hotels remains stable with growth of 1.5%. US consumers express the largest interest for luxury hotel brands globally (66.3% of the total), but strong demand growth was fueled by Russians (up 12.8%), British (up 8.5%) and Chinese (up 3.3%). Signs of demand decline were recorded in Italy (down 14.3%), Brazil (down12.1%) and Japan (down11.1%).

“The luxury hotel market is very heterogeneous from one market to the other," explains Samad Laaroussi, Holder of the Chair of Luxury Hospitality of Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne.

“We have defined for this study 3 main categories: luxury brands integrated to hotel groups and hotel groups that are playing mainly or only in the luxury market segment. 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 most-searched luxury hotel brands worldwide

The US Dominates the Luxury Hotel Industry

The US gave birth to the majority of leading hotel chains in the world (75.5% of hotels in the WLI Hotels are American) and US consumers, express the largest interest for hotel brands globally (66.3%).

Furthermore, their cities are the most sought-after and fastest growing destinations worldwide, attracting a large segment of international travelers. New York leads the way as the #1 most searched city and Washington D.C. as the fastest growing destination worldwide.

“America’s State Department has now confirmed that US visa application processing times from Chinese and Brazilian tourists have decreased from a matter of weeks or months to just days. With more high income travelers visiting the US, this will have a positive impact on the luxury hotel industry.” mentions David Sadigh, Founder and CEO of Digital Luxury Group.

 US visa application processing times from Chinese and Brazilian tourists have decreased from weeks to days 

Surprises Abound from BRIC Markets

With 12.8% growth, Russia leads the BRIC markets. Brazil is showing slight regression since last year, down 12.1%. Fastest growing hotels in the BRIC were: Shangri-La hotel in Brazil (up 72%), Hyatt Regency in Russia (up 89%), Ritz-Carlton in India (up 59% – property set to open Summer 2013) and St. Regis in China (up 56%).

Most popular international destinations from BRIC markets were: Miami and New York for Brazilian travelers, Hurghada and Dubai for Russians, Dubai and Singapore (Indians), Hong Kong and Singapore (Chinese).


Hilton, Ritz Carlton and Four Seasons Lead

Led by Ritz-Carlton, Luxury Major category hotels are fueling growth (up 12.07%) whilst, the Upper Upscale category which accounts for 1/3 of all luxury hotels captures 3/4 of total global interest but stagnates at -1%.

Hilton, Ritz-Carlton and Four Seasons lead their respective categories: Upper Upscale, Luxury Major and Luxury Exclusive. Hilton Worldwide, Hyatt and Starwood are the Top 3 leading Hotel Groups. Hilton Worldwide ranks first in 4 out of 10 markets: Italy, Germany, United Kingdom and United States, whilst Starwood leads in BRIC markets. Jumeirah is the most rapidly growing amongst the Top 25 Luxury Hotel Groups.

“Four Seasons benefits from an outstanding level of online awareness reflecting a high level of brand desirability. The iconic Canadian brand is a best in class in luxury brand management and has invested massively in digital” says Florent Bondoux, Head of Strategy & Intelligence at Digital Luxury Group.

The World Luxury Index is an on-going international ranking and analysis of the most searched-for brands within the luxury industry, covering over 400 brands within six key segments. Please see previous editions below:

- Luxury Auto Brands Lead Share of Online Search in Brazil
- The Most Sought-After Luxury Watch Brands in China
- The Most Searched For American Fashion Brands in the World

The full report is available to download from: More detailed data and analysis on a particular segment or brand is available upon request.

For any further enquiries regarding the index or research, please contact Laetitia Hirschy of Digital Luxury Group


Digital Luxury Group is the first international company dedicated exclusively to the design and implementation of digital communication strategies for luxury brands, with offices in New York, Geneva and Shanghai.

The Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne offers university-level studies to talented and ambitious students who are aiming for top careers in the international hospitality industry.

Luxury Society is the world’s most influential online community of top luxury executives, with members in more than 150 countries. Luxury Society informs & connects CEOs, managers, journalists, consultants, designers & analysts from across the luxury industry.