Brand Finance logo

World’s Top 50 Most Valuable Hotel Brands Could Lose US$14 Billion of Brand Value from COVID-19

19 May 2020
This article is more than 4 years old.
  • Hotels sector heavily impacted by COVID-19 pandemic, brands could lose up to 20% of cumulative brand value, equating to US$14 billion
  • Hilton remains world’s most valuable hotel brand, up an impressive 35%
  • Mercure is fastest growing brand in Brand Finance Hotels 50 2020 ranking, following staggering 57% growth
  • Premier Inn claims title of world’s strongest hotel brand, Brand Strength Index (BSI) score 89.1/100
  • Leisure & Tourism sector also heavily impacted, brands could lose up to 20% of cumulative brand value
  • Airbnb most valuable leisure & tourism brand, brand value US$10.5 billion

View the full Brand Finance Hotels 50 2020 report here

View the full Brand Finance Leisure & Tourism 10 2020 ranking here

Top 50 hotel brands could lose US$14bn from COVID-19

The world’s top 50 most valuable hotel brands could lose up to US$14 billion worth of brand value as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the latest Brand Finance Hotels 50 2020 report. Brand Finance’s analysis shows that the hotels sector is one of the most heavily impacted industries globally and could face a potential 20% loss in brand value.

COVID-19 is undoubtedly going to wreak havoc on the sector in the coming year – both financially, as hotels are forced to close and bookings are cancelled, and reputationally, as brands that do not manage to avoid association with COVID-19 may suffer lasting reputational damage.

Looking beyond the hotels sector, the value of the 500 most valuable brands in the world, ranked in the Brand Finance Global 500 2020 league table, could fall by an estimated US$1 trillion as a result of the Coronavirus outbreak.

Brand Finance has assessed the impact of COVID-19 based on the effect of the outbreak on enterprise value, compared to what it was on 1st January 2020. The likely impact on brand value was estimated for each sector. The industries have been classified into three categories – limited impact (minimal brand value loss or potential brand value growth), moderate impact (up to 10% brand value loss), and heavy impact (up to 20% brand value loss) – based on the level of brand value loss observed for each sector in the first quarter of 2020.

Savio D’Souza, Director, Brand Finance, commented:

“Unsurprisingly, the COVID-19 pandemic is going to hit the hotels sector hard as holidays are cancelled and people work from home. While Brand Finance has predicted that hotel brands could face an average 20% loss of brand value, the brands that will be less impacted will be properties with strong brands where social distancing protocols will be easier such as resorts and extended stay properties. Unsurprisingly, brands with a larger exposure to primary markets will be impacted more than secondary and tertiary markets as customers move their preference to properties within “drive-to” markets.”

Hilton remains most valuable

Hilton has recorded an impressive 35% growth in brand value to US$10.8 billion, holding on to first place in the Brand Finance Hotels 50 2020 ranking. The brand’s year-on-year success is due to strong revenue growth and a solid reputation, making Hilton a firm-favourite amongst holiday-goers around the world.

While Hilton’s revenue will take a hit following COVID-19, the brand is consistently elevating its reputation during the crisis, lighting up its buildings in support of the NHS in London, donating free parking spots to healthcare professionals, and teaming up with American Express to donate 1 million overnight stays to frontline medical workers across the US. Placing people at the heart of its strategy, Hilton has also helped its staff who have been furloughed or let go to connect with job vacancies in essential services sectors. As global lockdown restrictions begin to be reviewed, the brand’s gestures of goodwill are likely to pay off, protecting its future revenues and reinforcing Hilton’s already solid reputation.

Mercure is fastest growing, up impressive 57%

With a brand value growth of 57% to US$2.3 billion, Mercure is the fastest growing brand in the Brand Finance Hotels 50 2020 ranking, jumping 3 spots to 8th position. Accor group has been focussing on strong organic franchise growth across its portfolio with Mercure picked as one of the key brands to deliver this growth. This shift to franchise-based growth has fuelled the brand value growth versus last year.

In line with global trends, Accor-owned Mercure hotels have ceased operations in many of their locations but seem to have taken a long-term view approach to their brand’s reputation, demonstrating goodwill by providing rooms for homeless people and other vulnerable communities during COVID-19. Accor’s portfolio of brands are likely to benefit from an improved reputation from its rapid and employee-centred response to the Coronavirus crisis, which saw the parent company establish the ALL Heartist Fund to distribute money amongst employees and partners who have seen their income slashed.

Premier Inn named sector’s strongest

In addition to measuring overall brand value, Brand Finance determines the relative strength of brands through a balanced scorecard of metrics evaluating marketing investment, stakeholder equity, and business performance. According to these criteria, Premier Inn (up 22% to US$1.2 billion) is the world’s strongest hotel brand with a Brand Strength Index (BSI) score of 89.1 out of 100 and a corresponding AAA brand strength rating.

The last few years have seen Premier Inn strengthen its reputation as a reliable hotel option, reinforced by the brand’s humorous advertising campaigns and strong celebrity endorsements. Alongside this well-executed branding strategy, Premier Inn’s BSI is driven by its high customer equity and CSR scores, undoubtedly boosted by the brand’s commitment to eliminate single-use plastics by 2025 as part of their ‘Force for Good’ sustainability programme.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Premier Inn has demonstrated its commitment to communities through a series of measures, ranging from closing their phone lines to reduce the number of unnecessary journeys to work, reserving hotel rooms to support the NHS and key workers, and implementing refund policies to non-refundable rooms.

Savio D’Souza, Director, Brand Finance, commented:

“As the strongest hotel brand in the ranking, Premier Inn’s overwhelmingly people-led response to the Coronavirus crisis is likely to reinforce strong customer perceptions of trust and allow the brand to emerge with a relatively unscathed brand strength.”

Leisure & Tourism heavily impacted by COVID-19

Alongside analysing the world’s most valuable hotel brands, Brand Finance also ranks the top 10 most valuable brands in the wider leisure and tourism industry. Brand Finance’s analysis shows that leisure and tourism brands could also lose up to 20% of brand value due to COVID-19.

With a brand value of US$10.5 billion, Airbnb is the most valuable leisure and tourism brand. Combining technology and leisure, Airbnb has given traditional hotel brands a worthy opponent since its inception, favoured by homeowners as a hassle-free source of extra income, and by frequent travellers for its affordability and sense of adventure. Despite its business operations grinding to a halt, Airbnb is in a relatively good position to recover from the crisis as the economy slowly re-opens, likely to be favoured by holiday-goers looking for “staycation” options in their own countries.

Savio D’Souza, Director, Brand Finance, commented:

“It is fairly obvious that the leisure and tourism industry is going to take a big hit from the Coronavirus outbreak as varying levels of lockdown are being imposed on nations globally - Brand Finance’s analysis demonstrates that leisure and tourism brands could lose up to 20% of their brand value. As with most sectors, however, the damage that will ensue on these brands will greatly depend on how long the pandemic engulfs the world, when borders are opened and how well brands can respond and adapt to the changing market.”

View the full Brand Finance Hotels 50 2020 report

View the full Brand Finance Leisure & Tourism 10 2020 ranking here

Note to Editors

Every year, Brand Finance values 5,000 of the world’s biggest brands. The 50 most valuable hotel brands and the 10 most valuable leisure & tourism brands are included in the Brand Finance Hotels 50 2020 report.

Brand value is understood as the net economic benefit that a brand owner would achieve by licensing the brand in the open market. Brand strength is the efficacy of a brand’s performance on intangible measures relative to its competitors.

Additional insights, charts, and more information about the methodology, as well as definitions of key terms are available in the Brand Finance Hotels 50 2020 report.

Data compiled for the Brand Finance rankings and reports are provided for the benefit of the media and are not to be used for any commercial or technical purpose without written permission from Brand Finance.

Media Contacts

Penny Erricker
Communications Executive
Brand Finance

About Brand Finance

Brand Finance is the world’s leading brand valuation consultancy. Bridging the gap between marketing and finance for more than 25 years, Brand Finance evaluates the strength of brands and quantifies their financial value to help organizations of all kinds make strategic decisions.

Headquartered in London, Brand Finance has offices in over 20 countries, offering services on all continents. Every year, Brand Finance conducts more than 5,000 brand valuations, supported by original market research, and publishes over 100 reports which rank brands across all sectors and countries.

Brand Finance also operates the Global Brand Equity Monitor, conducting original market research annually on over 5,000 brands, surveying more than 150,000 respondents across 38 countries and 31 industry sectors. Combining perceptual data from the Global Brand Equity Monitor with data from its valuation database enables Brand Finance to arm brand leaders with the data and analytics they need to enhance brand and business value.

Brand Finance is a regulated accountancy firm, leading the standardization of the brand valuation industry. Brand Finance was the first to be certified by independent auditors as compliant with both ISO 10668 and ISO 20671 and has received the official endorsement of the Marketing Accountability Standards Board (MASB) in the United States.

Definition of Brand

Brand is defined as a marketing-related intangible asset including, but not limited to, names, terms, signs, symbols, logos, and designs, intended to identify goods, services, or entities, creating distinctive images and associations in the minds of stakeholders, thereby generating economic benefits.

Brand Strength

Brand strength is the efficacy of a brand’s performance on intangible measures relative to its competitors. Brand Finance evaluates brand strength in a process compliant with ISO 20671, looking at Marketing Investment, Stakeholder Equity, and the impact of those on Business Performance. The data used is derived from Brand Finance’s proprietary market research programme and from publicly available sources.

Each brand is assigned a Brand Strength Index (BSI) score out of 100, which feeds into the brand value calculation. Based on the score, each brand is assigned a corresponding Brand Rating up to AAA+ in a format similar to a credit rating.

Brand Valuation Approach

Brand Finance calculates the values of brands in its rankings using the Royalty Relief approach – a brand valuation method compliant with the industry standards set in ISO 10668. It involves estimating the likely future revenues that are attributable to a brand by calculating a royalty rate that would be charged for its use, to arrive at a ‘brand value’ understood as a net economic benefit that a brand owner would achieve by licensing the brand in the open market.

The steps in this process are as follows:

1 Calculate brand strength using a balanced scorecard of metrics assessing Marketing Investment, Stakeholder Equity, and Business Performance. Brand strength is expressed as a Brand Strength Index (BSI) score on a scale of 0 to 100.

2 Determine royalty range for each industry, reflecting the importance of brand to purchasing decisions. In luxury, the maximum percentage is high, while in extractive industry, where goods are often commoditised, it is lower. This is done by reviewing comparable licensing agreements sourced from Brand Finance’s extensive database.

3 Calculate royalty rate. The BSI score is applied to the royalty range to arrive at a royalty rate. For example, if the royalty range in a sector is 0-5% and a brand has a BSI score of 80 out of 100, then an appropriate royalty rate for the use of this brand in the given sector will be 4%.

4 Determine brand-specific revenues by estimating a proportion of parent company revenues attributable to a brand.

5 Determine forecast revenues using a function of historic revenues, equity analyst forecasts, and economic growth rates.

6 Apply the royalty rate to the forecast revenues to derive brand revenues.

7 Discount post-tax brand revenues to a net present value which equals the brand value.


Brand Finance has produced this study with an independent and unbiased analysis. The values derived and opinions presented in this study are based on publicly available information and certain assumptions that Brand Finance used where such data was deficient or unclear. Brand Finance accepts no responsibility and will not be liable in the event that the publicly available information relied upon is subsequently found to be inaccurate. The opinions and financial analysis expressed in the study are not to be construed as providing investment or business advice. Brand Finance does not intend the study to be relied upon for any reason and excludes all liability to any body, government, or organisation.

The data presented in this study form part of Brand Finance's proprietary database, are provided for the benefit of the media, and are not to be used in part or in full for any commercial or technical purpose without written permission from Brand Finance.

Get in Touch