As holidays are cancelled and people are instructed to work from home, the hospitality sector has reached an almost complete standstill both from tourism, as well as corporate travel. As a result, the total value of the top 50 most valuable hotel brands has decreased 33% year-on-year, down from US$70.2 billion in 2020 to US$47.4 billion in 2021, according to the latest Brand Finance Hotels 50 2021 report.
Savio D’Souza, Valuation Director, Brand Finance, said, “The hotels sector has completely ground to a halt over the previous year, the repercussions of which are demonstrated by the sharp brand value declines for almost all of the top 50 most valuable hotel brands. The sector is a resilient one, however. As the world begins to open back up again, we are already witnessing a strong improvement in bookings and occupancy levels across the board, showcasing the strength of brands despite the turmoil of the last year.”
Hilton once again is the world’s most valuable hotel brands, despite recording a 30 per cent drop in brand value to US$7.6 billion. While Hilton’s revenue has taken a significant hit since the outbreak of the pandemic, the brand is showing confidence in its growth strategy, announcing a further 17,400 rooms to its pipeline, bringing the total to over 400,000 new rooms planned – an uplift of eight per cent on the previous year. Hilton also boasts the most valuable hotel portfolio, with its seven brands that feature in the ranking reaching a total brand value of US$13.8 billion.
Hilton’s rival, Marriott (down 60 per cent to US$2.4 billion), has dropped down to 5th spot from 2nd, after losing more than half of its brand value. Last year, the brand’s worldwide revenue available per room was down 60 per cent from 2019 and global occupancy was just 36 per cent for the year.
Bucking the sector trend as one of only two brands in the ranking to record brand value growth is Hyatt (up four per cent to US$4.7 billion). Despite the pandemic impacting its performance greatly, Hyatt’s net rooms growth has been strong, opening 72 hotels and entering 27 new markets. Furthermore, the brand has continued to execute new signings to maintain its pipeline, which represent over 40 per cent growth of existing hotel rooms in the future.
In addition to measuring overall brand value, Brand Finance also evaluates the relative strength of brands, based on factors such as marketing investment, customer familiarity, staff satisfaction, and corporate reputation. According to these criteria, Taj (brand value US$296 million) is the world’s strongest hotel brand, with a Brand Strength Index (BSI) score of 89.3 out of 100 and a corresponding AAA brand strength rating.
Renowned for its world-class customer service, the luxury hotel chain scores very well in our Global Brand Equity Monitor for consideration, familiarity, recommendation, and reputation especially across its home market of India.
Taj’s successful implementation of its five-year plan - which focuses on selling non-core assets, becoming less ownership driven and reducing dependence on the luxury space – followed by the speedy adoption of its new R.E.S.E.T 2020 strategy, which provides a transformative framework to help the brand overcome the challenge of the pandemic, has contributed to the brand’s re-entrance into the ranking for the first time since 2016 in 38th spot.
Alongside analysing the world’s most valuable hotel brands, Brand Finance also ranks the top 10 most valuable brands in the wider leisure & tourism industry. This year, the total value of the world’s top 10 most valuable leisure & tourism brands has declined by 40 per cent.
Despite booking.com recording a 19 per cent brand value loss to US$8.3 billion, it has overtaken Airbnb (down 67 per cent to US$3.4 billion) and Trip.com Group (down 38 per cent to US$3.5 billion) to become the most valuable leisure & tourism brand in the world. The fastest falling brand this year, Airbnb, cut a quarter of its workforce last year, and was forced to scale back on new initiatives that it had in the pipeline, including luxury resorts and flights.
Happy Valley (down 37 per cent to US$1.2 billion) is the sector’s strongest brand, with a BSI score of 84.1 out of 100 and a corresponding AAA- brand strength rating.
There are three new entrants into the ranking this year, AMC Theatres (brand value US$1.8 billion) in 7th, Priceline (brand value US$1.5 billion) in 8th, and Shenzhen Overseas Chinese Town (brand value to US$1.3 billion) in 9th.
The world’s largest cinema chain, AMC, has struggled as cinemas were shut amid global lockdowns. The brand will be hoping their fortunes will reverse as customers slowly start to return to the big screen and blockbusters that have been delayed are finally released.
The three new entrants have pushed out three cruise brands, which have dropped out the ranking this year: Royal Caribbean International, Norwegian Cruise, and Carnival Cruise Lines.