T&E hospitality study reveals 'brand leakage'

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By: Wise Marketer Staff |

Posted on August 21, 2004

The Market Metrix Hospitality Index (MMHI) for the second quarter 2004 has tracked and revealed sources of 'brand leakage' within a number of hospitality industries, including hotels, airlines, and car rentals. The report also ranks the industry leaders based on consumer opinion, behaviour, and loyalty data.

According to the index, which monitors 135 hotel brands, 25 airlines and 11 car rental companies, Four Seasons, Jet Blue Airways and Enterprise Rent-A-Car ranked number one for customer satisfaction in the hotel, airline and car rental industries.

Four Seasons returns as the top rated hotel brand in the country after falling in the rankings for the two previous quarters. Jet Blue and Enterprise have both won seven out of the last eight quarters in their industry categories. First time winners include Executive Inn Hotels in the 'midscale with food & beverage services' category, and AmericInn in the 'Economy hotel' category.

Leaking brands?
The company has also developed the 'brand leakage' concept to quantify and evaluate the brand switching habits of hotel customers. It has integrated this into its quarterly MMHI report, enabling subscribers to the index to track their customers' travel activity over time, to see if they remain loyal, switch to another brand, or try another brand and then switch back.

"Knowing to which brands customers actually switch can offer valuable insight into stopping them leaving in the first place," said Market Metrix co-founder and partner, Jonathan Barsky Ph.D.

Market intelligence
For example, Barsky says that Best Western loses most of its defectors (9.2%) to Comfort Inn, while Hilton loses its biggest slice (10%) to Marriott, and Hampton loses some 8.3% of its switchers to Best Western hotels.

According to Barsky, when armed with this kind of information, brands can build marketing strategies to recapture lost customers, design promotions to win back defectors, and create products and services to specifically address competitor offerings.

"Knowing the sequence of brand choices that customers make can offer insight into where to build hotels, what brands to include in a portfolio, and what business affiliations would exploit these travel patterns," concluded Barsky.

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