WILTON, CT--(Marketwire - Jul 16, 2012) - cg42, a boutique consultancy that partners with businesses to reinvigorate customer growth, released the results of a groundbreaking study that ranks the top hotel groups and loyalty programs in the U.S. according to the risks associated with their greatest vulnerabilities. Based on a survey of over 3,000 primary loyalty program members who are also frequent travelers, the Brand Vulnerability Index (BVI) measures the frustrations of consumers and their corresponding effects on behavior, most notably defection and loss in spending.
The study indicates that a significant portion of the $10 billion in customer spending on these nine hotel groups will be redistributed, with a smaller portion going to other hotel chains entirely. Of the nine hotel groups included in the study, Carlson has the highest brand vulnerability, while InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has the lowest.
"The hotel industry's most valuable customers are also the savviest and demanding; hotel groups that don't understand their vulnerabilities with this audience are at substantial risk," said Stephen Beck, Founder and Managing Partner of cg42. "For the first time, hotel groups have a way to quantify the frustrations that drive customers to change brands in tangible financial terms. Hotel groups that understand their customers' behaviors can identify where their vulnerabilities are, what customers want from their loyalty programs, and how to take advantage of opportunities left open by their competitors."
The study surveyed four components of brand vulnerability, including: frequency of customer frustrations; customer sharing behavior (disclosure of frustrations via word-of-mouth or on social media); the impact of frustrations on customer behavior, including spending; and the uniqueness of those frustrations to a particular hotel group and loyalty program.
Responses were collected, analyzed, and modeled to produce a ranking of the top 9 hotel groups and loyalty programs by vulnerability, from most to least:
1. Carlson (Club Carlson)
2. Best Western (Best Western Rewards)
3. Wyndham (Wyndham Rewards)
4. Marriott (Marriott Rewards)
5. Hyatt (Hyatt Gold Passport)
6. Choice (Choice Privileges)
7. Hilton (Hilton HHonors)
8. Starwood (SPG)
9. IHG (Priority Club)
The following takeaways represent several key findings from the study:
- The top three most vulnerable players ranked by Brand Vulnerability Score (BVS) are Carlson, Best Western, and Wyndham with projected combined losses of $1.8 billion in traveler spending in the next 12 months
- 79% of customers like the convenience and value of having things like internet access and breakfast included in their hotel rate
- 64% of customers like to redeem points collected on business trips for use during leisure trips
- 56% of customers rely on customer reviews when selecting a hotel/brand
- 49% of customers are loyal to their preferred brand because of their experience
The results of BVI carry broad implications for hotel groups, loyalty programs, and their customers. How can hotel groups improve their relationship with customers? What can they do to improve loyalty programs? How can they exploit their competitors' weaknesses to capture defectors? The value of illuminating vulnerabilities -- as opposed to strengths -- is significant.
The BVI framework can be applied to other industries to produce similar results; to download the 2011 Retail Banking Brand Vulnerability Study, please visit www.cg42.com. cg42 will release new studies later this year.
cg42 partners with senior management teams in businesses whose growth has stagnated, helping them re-focus their organizations on the changes required to reinvigorate demand. We have a proven track record in aligning our clients' operations, finance, and marketing functions behind the core principle of creating customers. We have helped Fortune 100 companies in the Financial Services and High-Tech sectors, and mid-sized companies in the Consumer Services sector make the immediate and long-term changes necessary to create significant top-line growth and incremental profitability. New approaches, like our patent-pending Brand Vulnerability methodology, have been a critical factor in positioning our clients to break through the competitive clutter. We invite you to learn more about cg42 at www.cg42.com. And always remember -- Don't Panic.