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Hilton’s Brand Portfolio Emerges as World’s Most Valuable

The hotel company edged out Marriott in brand value, according to report by Brand Finance

Hilton reached over the top to take the lead as the world’s most valuable hotel brand, according to independent brand valuation consultancy, Brand Finance. The hotel company’s brand value growth (up 17 percent to $7.4 billion) was largely driven by strong revenue increases over the last year, cementing the brand’s leadership position in the industry.

Meanwhile, Marriott took a hit in  brand value (down 8 percent to $5.0 billion) and its brand strength dropped from AAA- to AA+. Marriott has faced several challenges in the North American market from hacking scandals to persistent problems with its loyalty schemes. At the same time, the combined value of Marriott’s brands within the Brand Finance Hotels 50 ranking decreased by 30 percent, giving way to Hilton’s brand portfolio to claim the title of the world’s most valuable.

“Hilton’s strategic approach to brand growth has allowed it to extend its lead as the world’s most valuable hotel brand. At the same time, endorsement from the flagship brand has rendered benefits across the portfolio as Homewood Suites, Double Tree, and Hampton have seen their brand values sore. In its centennial year, Hilton is well-positioned for another hundred years of success,” said Savio D’Souza, Valuation Director at Brand Finance.

Brand Finance defines a brand as a marketing-related intangible asset including, but not limited to, names, terms, signs, symbols, logos, and designs, intended to identify goods, services or entities, creating distinctive images and associations in the minds of stakeholders, thereby generating economic benefits.

The combined value of all Hilton brands amounts to $14.7 billion – nearly $2 billion more than Marriott’s $12.9 billion portfolio. Hilton Worldwide Holdings achieved overall brand value growth of 41 percent, a stark contrast with the Marriott International brand portfolio decreasing by 30 percent.

Hilton’s brand value is concentrated across six brands, up from five in 2018, all strongly leveraging the valuable Hilton brand name and each recording solid growth this year. As with Marriott, Hilton has committed to a relentless expansion program and with thousands of new rooms and hotels in the pipeline. Neither company show signs of slowing down in the coming year.

Marriott, however, with four of its brands dropping out of the Brand Finance Hotel 50 ranking this year, now has twelve brands in the ranking although some have decreased in value. Marriott’s recent announcement of entering the home-rental market however, is a promising move to take back market share from Airbnb and could contribute to an uplift in brand value in the coming year.

The Hilton and Marriott portfolios remain well ahead of third-ranked Wyndham, which also suffered a drop of 8 percent in brand value to $7.3 billion.

Fastest-Growing Brands

The three hotel brands to grow the fastest in value this year all come from Hilton’s portfolio, and each contributed to its overall growth. Their impressive performance was led by Homewood Suites (brand value up 99 percent to $0.8 billion), followed closely by Double Tree (up 79 percent to $2.1 billion) and Hampton (up 78 percent to $3.2 billion). This growth allowed the latter two brands to reshape the ranking’s top 10, with Double Tree jumping from 17th to 7th and Hampton rising from 10th to 5th place over the past year.

At the same time, the three fastest-falling brands this year (Westin – down 46 percent, Residence Inn – down 46 percent, and Sheraton – down 44 percent), and altogether 7 out of the bottom 10 worst-performing brands, are part of the Marriott portfolio, dragging its combined value down.

World’s Strongest Hotel Brand: Mercure

Aside from calculating overall brand value, Brand Finance also determines the relative strength of brands through a balanced scorecard of metrics evaluating marketing investment, stakeholder equity, and business performance. Alongside revenue forecasts, brand strength is a crucial driver of brand value.

According to these criteria and scoring high in Brand Finance market research, Mercure has claimed the title of the world’s strongest hotel brand, significantly improving its Brand Strength Index (BSI) score from 75.7 to 86.2 out of 100 and recording a brand rating upgrade from AA+ to AAA. Mercure is also the most valuable brand in Accor’s portfolio, with nearly 800 hotels. The brand has continued to make several acquisitions through its scheme of franchise growth.

TUI closes in on Royal Caribbean

Brand Finance also ranks the top 10 most valuable brands in the wider leisure and tourism industry.

Royal Caribbean International has narrowly retained its position as the world’s most valuable leisure and tourism brand, with its brand value remaining steady at $3.8 billion. The brand reported strong financial results in 2018, and with demand high in the cruise industry, Royal Caribbean are on course for future growth.

TUI (brand value up 4 percent to $3.7 billion) closed the gap to the ranking’s leader, only just falling short of overtaking Royal Caribbean.

Chinese Surge

The fast-growing China International Travel (up 70 percent to $3.7 billion) has come third this year, up from 5th in 2018. China International saw a significant increase in its valuation due to a surge in forecast revenue in coming years as the Chinese tourism market continues to develop with unprecedented speed and scale.

The fastest-growing brand in the ranking also comes from China. Happy Valley almost doubled its brand value in a single year (up 97 percent to $2.0 billion).