Marriott International’s well-publicized troubles following the thorny merger with Starwood Hotels and Resorts have once again benefitted rival Hilton Hotels and Resorts. According to the independent brand valuation firm Brand Finance, Hilton has surpassed Marriott as the most valuable brand among the leading hospitality companies.
Things haven’t exactly been going great for Marriott since absorbing Starwood Hotels and Resorts. Now, there are indications the hotel giant’s struggles are taking a toll on the brand’s overall value. According to an independent consulting firm, Brand Finance, Hilton has overtaken Marriott to be named the world’s most valuable hotel brand.
“Hilton’s strategic approach to brand growth has allowed it to extend its lead as the world’s most valuable hotel brand,” Brand Finance Valuation Director Savio D’Souza said in a statement announcing the new top hotel chain. “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.”
According to the report, three of the brands in Hilton’s portfolio – Homewood Suites, Double Tree and Hampton – are among the fastest growing in the entire industry. Meanwhile, Marriott’s brand value decreased by a whopping 30% in the most recent rankings.
Brand Finance defines brand value as the net economic benefit that the brand owner could realize by licensing that brand name in the open market. The rankings consider “brand strength” to be the brand name’s intangible value when compared to other brand names within the given industry.
The recent results cap something of a rough run for Marriott in recent months. In November, the company was forced to fess up to what is still considered among the biggest single hacker-involved data breaches ever. Both former Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) and Marriott Rewards members have not been quiet about the belief that they have been slowly losing status, redemption values, perks and customer service reliability following the merger. More recently, the hotel chain’s most loyal members have banded together to revolt against Marriott’s notoriously difficult-to-navigate Bonvoy rewards program. Disgruntled guests have even coined the turn of phrase “bonvoyed” to help identify loyalty members who have suffered perceived mistreatment at the hands of the company.
Hilton CEO Christopher Nassetta announced earlier this year that Marriott’s woes have been Hilton’s gain. He indicated in February that the Hilton Honors loyalty program saw an increase of 14 million new members. Nassetta attributed the spike in new Hilton Honors memberships, in part, to recent dissatisfaction with the competition. If Hilton’s new perch atop the industry is any indication, it appears this trend is continuing.
[Image Source: Hilton]