BrandIndex's winter travel value rankings appear in the travel trades and Mediapost

Southwest tops in value and reputation, study says

December 15, 2008

When it comes to perceived value and positive buzz, Southwest squashes its U.S. airline competitors, according to brand rankings by YouGovPolimetrix.

The research firm’s BrandIndex, a ranking based on consumer feedback, ranked Southwest first among domestic airlines in value perception with a score of 40. JetBlue was second at 16.9.

In the “buzz” rankings, Southwest and JetBlue also led the way with scores of 30.6 and 8.9, respectively. Eleven U.S.airlines were ranked.

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

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.

United (-7.2) and American (-5.0) were at the bot tom of the value rankings. US Airways (-3.7) and American (-3.2) were last in buzz.

For international airlines, Virgin America (5.4) was tops in perceived value, followed by Lufthansa (2.6) and British Airways (2.5). Virgin Atlantic (4.8) and British Airways (4.5) were tops in buzz among inter national carriers.

Aeromexico (-6.6) was the lowest in perceived value of the 13 international airlines ranked. Air France (-2.6) and Alitalia (-2.3) were at the bottom in buzz.

YouGovPolimetrix also ranked luxury and non-luxury hotels according to the same parameters. In the value category for luxury, Hyatt finished first out of nine brands with a score of 13.4. W Hotels (-0.1) was la st.

Hilton (11.2) was first in buzz; Omni was last (0.9)

Among the 18 non-luxury hotel brands ranked, Courtyard by Marriott finished first at 27.8, closely followed by Marriott (27.4) and Comfort Inn (27.2). Motel 6 (-3.9) and Super 8 (-2.9) were at the bottom.

In the buzz ranking for non-luxury hotels, Holiday Inn was tops at 18.7, followed by Marriott (18.5). Motel 6 (-2.6) and E cono Lodge (-2.4) were at the bottom.

YouGovPolimetrix composed the rankings after surveying 5,000 U.S. consumers on Dec. 8.


Consumers Rank Holiday Travel Value

Courtyard by Marriott and Hyatt earned top ranks among non-luxury and luxury hotels while Southwest and Virgin were th e 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 prob es 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 positiv e 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 clos ely 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 mea ns 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


Consumers ranked Southwest Airlines as the top domestic airline in providing value for their dollars, according to the latest BrandIndex scores from research firm YouGovPolimetrix. Virgin Atlantic led the rankings for international airlines, Courtyard by Marriott for non-luxury hotels, and Hyatt Hotels & Resorts for luxury hotels.

The lowest-ranking brands in each category were United Airlines, Aeromexico, Motel 6 and W Hotels.

BrandIndex also ranked buzz for each brand by asking consumers if they had heard anything positive or negative about them in the preceding two weeks. The two top-valued airlines also received the most positive buzz, but the top hotels buzz-wise were Holiday Inn in non-luxury and Hilton in luxury. The most negative buzz came from US Airways, Air France, Motel 6 and Omni Hotels.

BrandIndex derives brand scores from 100 to -100 by subtracting negative feedback from positive. In this respect, Southwest nabbed a 40.0 value ranking, flying well above No. 2 JetBlue (16.9), which itself was miles ahead of No. 3 AirTran (3.0). In buzz, Southwest also soared, with a 30.6 score vs. JetBlue's 8.9 and Continental's 2.4. Scores were much lower in general for the international airlines, with Virgin only getting a 5.4 in value (over Lufthansa's 2.6) and a 4.8 in buzz (over British Airways' 4.5). The hotel races were much tighter. For the non-luxury brands, fewer than five points separated the top six value-wise, with Courtyard by Marriott nabbing 27.8, its sister Marriott chain, 27.4; Comfort Inn, 27.2; Holiday Inn, 26.0; Best Western, 25.8, and Hampton Inn, 23.3. In buzz, Holiday Inn's 18.7 was followed closely by Marriott's 18.5. In luxury hotels, W was the only chain of nine surveyed to have a negative value score, with Hyatt's 13.4 followed by Hilton' 12.9, Westin's 9.5 and Windham's 8.3. In buzz, nobody came up negative, with Hilton's 11.2 leading Ritz-Carlton's 9.6, Hyatt's 8.1, and Four Seasons' 7.7. BrandIndex interviews a sample of 5,000 U.S. consumers, 18+, every day, with respondents drawn from an online panel of 1.4 million people. The latest travel brand results were based on figures as of Dec. 8.