Consumers Rank Holiday Travel Value Perceptions

Courtyard by Marriott and Hyatt earned top ranks among non-luxury and luxury hotels while Southwest and Virgin were the top airlines, according to a new study by BrandIndex. The research into consumer perception offers data on the hotel and airline sectors at the start of the holiday season.

BrandIndex says both industries are trying hard to win consumers over in a very difficult economy, and the study probes who is marketing their message and perception the best and the worst. The study looks at the value and buzz scores for domestic airlines, international airlines, luxury hotels and non-luxury hotels. It also examines how consumers with income of $100,000+ view luxury hotels.

YouGovPolimetrix’s BrandIndex says it’s the only daily consumer perception research firm, and is releasing ranking data on which airlines and hotels are seen by consumers as the best and worst value, as well as positive and negative buzz. The respondent sample is representative of the U.S. population 18 years of age and above.

For the value score, respondents are asked, “Do you receive good value for what you pay?” For the buzz score, respondents are asked, “If you’ve heard anything about these brands in the last two weeks, was it positive or negative?”

Southwest leads domestic airlines in value perception with an even 40.0 score, with JetBlue coming in second with a 16.9 score. Both of them lead the buzz rankings as well with respective scores of 30.6 and 8.9. At the bottom of the value rankings are United Airlines (-7.3) and American Airlines (-5.0). The most negative buzz has been on US Airways (-3.7) and American Airlines (-3.2).

Among international airlines, Virgin Atlantic is perceived as the best value with a 5.4 score, followed by Lufthansa (2.6) and British Airways (2.5). All three airlines obtain the most positive buzz at this time, while Air France (-2.6) and Alitalia (-2.3) receive the lowest. Aeromexico is seen as the worst value with a -6.6 score.

Marriott rules the top of the charts among non-luxury hotels. Both Courtyard by Marriott (27.8) and the Marriott flagship chain itself (27.4) are seen by consumers as the best value, followed very closely by Comfort Inn (27.2) and Holiday Inn (26.0). Consumers perceive the worst values as Motel 6 (-3.9) and Super 8 Motels (-2.9). The most positive buzz goes to Holiday Inn (18.7), Marriott (18.5), and Courtyard by Marriott (15.5), while the most negative is generated from Motel 6 (-2.6) and Econo Lodge (-2.4).

Hyatt Hotels & Resorts topped the value rankings among luxury hotels (13.4), followed closely by Hilton (12.9). The chains perceived with the least value are W Hotels (-0.1) and Omni Hotels (0.2). The Hilton (11.2) and the Ritz-Carlton (9.6) have the highest buzz scores, while Omni has the lowest (0.9).

A score can range from 100 to -100 and is compiled by subtracting negative feedback from positive. A zero score means equal positive and negative feedback. All scores in this report are as of December 8, 2008. BrandIndex interviews a representative sample of 5,000 U.S. consumers, aged 18 and above each day. They conduct more than 1.2 million interviews per year, with respondents drawn from their online panel of more than 1.4 MM individuals. Margin of error is a very accurate, +/- 2%, the company said. Visit

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