Southwest tops travel brand rankings

18 November 2013

SAN FRANCISCO: Southwest Airlines has been named the highest-ranking US airline for brand awareness, while Best Western and Hampton Inn are rated highly compared to other budget hotels, according to a new survey that compared the nation's travel companies.

The latest poll of leisure travellers from research firm YouGov BrandIndex found Dallas-based Southwest Airlines beat all its competitors for both the "Purchase Consideration" and "Ad Awareness" metrics, scoring 52% and 32% respectively.

These two metrics were tested on adults aged 18 and over who had spent at least one night in a hotel for personal reasons over the past year or who took at least one domestic leisure air trip over the same period.

Purchase Consideration was considered by YouGov as an indicator of possible future sales while Ad Awareness is based on whether respondents followed a brand's ad over the previous two weeks.

Among economy hotels, Best Western topped the poll for Ad Awareness, scoring 15%, while its Purchase Consideration rating of 32% was second only to the 35% scored by Hampton Inn, the Virginia-based chain owned by Hilton Worldwide.

"While Best Western generates much higher Ad Awareness than Hampton Inn, Hampton Inn edges it out on Word of Mouth, Buzz and Purchase Consideration," YouGov BrandIndex CEO Ted Marzilli told MediaPost.

"Hampton Inn seems to be getting better return on similar advertising investment," he added.

YouGov attributed Southwest's success to its recent "If It Matters To You, It Matters To Us" ad campaign, which aired during NFL broadcasts on FOX and CBS, promoting free in-flight live TV to watch games.

Similarly, Best Western's "Stay With People Who Care" campaign raised awareness by profiling the personal lives of Best Western hoteliers around the world in a series of three-minute online documentaries, the report suggested.

Data sourced from YouGov, Marketing Daily; additional content by Warc staff