Hilton is world's most valuable hotel brand, Marriott a close second

Marriott's acquisition of Starwood Hotels is the driving force behind the increase in its brand value to just under US$5.5 billion

Marriott Hotel Downtown, Abu Dhabi.
Marriott Hotel Downtown, Abu Dhabi.

Marriott Hotels has inched closer to the title of world’s most valuable hotel brand, right behind Hilton Hotels & Resorts with the acquisition of Starwood Hotels being the driving force behind the increase in its brand value to just under US$5.5 billion, an improvement of 8%, on the back of growing group revenues.

Hilton remains the world’s most valuable hotel brand for a third year in a row, but recorded a 24% fall last year which has seen its lead at the top over Marriott shrink from more than US$3.3 billion to US$865 million, a 74% reduction, a report from Brand Finance said.

As part of the restructuring of its Starwood portfolio, the company moved rooms from Sheraton to Marriott, maximising the profitability of its flagship brand, the report added. However, the acquisition did impact Sheraton’s brand value, which decreased by 50% to US$1.9 billion this year.

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When comparing Marriott’s 2018 portfolio to Hilton’s, only five hotel brands from Hilton’s portfolio made the brand value table, while 15 from Marriott qualified.

Brand Finance CEO David Haigh said in a statement: "The trends in the Brand Finance Hotels 50 league table reflect the success of Marriott’s expansion strategy, which is likely to continue exerting a positive impact on brand value in the future. It will be interesting to see if Marriott overtakes Hilton to claim the top spot for most valuable hotel brand next year."

Based on the Brand Strength Index (BSI), Premier Inn remains the strongest hotel brand with a BSI score of 88.7 and a brand rating of AAA, while UK competitor Holiday Inn stayed in second place with BSI score of 85.0 and also received the AAA brand rating.

However, Brand Finance outlines that the biggest threat to hotels remains to be Airbnb. Even though the company is not included in the list because of not owning any hotels, Airbnb’s brand value rose by more than 51% to over US$5.5 billion this year, the report states. The report also added that Airbnb could become a more direct competitor when it targets business travellers through its Airbnb for Business programme.

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