Princess Cruises, Hilton Hotels, Southwest Airlines And Enterprise Rental Cars Rank Highest In Brand Equity By Category

2010 Harris Poll EquiTrend® Results

This information originated in American English.

March 25, 2010

NEW YORK -  Leading global market research firm Harris Interactive continues to examine the results of its 2010 results of EquiTrend® study, today focusing on the travel and tourism sector. The annual brand equity study measures over 1,000 brands across 42 categories, five of which focus on travel and tourism.

Princess Cruises, Hilton Hotels, Southwest Airlines, and Enterprise Rental Cars rank highest in brand equity for their categories. "In an economic environment in which travel budgets for both leisure and business travel are ever-shrinking, it is more important than ever for brands to set themselves apart from the competition in order to attract a larger base of consumers," says Allison Powell, Research Director for Harris Interactive's Travel & Tourism Research Practice.

Cruise Lines
Princess Cruises, a premium cruise line, ranks highest in Brand Equity while the most familiar brand in cruises, Carnival, was ranked lowest. Norwegian Cruise Lines and Royal Caribbean rank second and third in Brand Equity, with Royal Caribbean displaying the most brand energy in the category with consumers indicating the brand is 'ahead of the game.'

Brand Equity
Princess Cruises 55.96
Norwegian Cruise Line 54.81
Royal Caribbean International 54.47
Carnival Cruise Lines 52.98
Celebrity Cruises 52.53

The highest rated brands in this category include Hilton, Westin, and Sheraton, with Hilton showing a notable increase from 2009 and now leading Marriott, which has lead the category for the past several years. Not surprisingly, value hotels score lower on Brand Equity than the higher end brands, however the reverse is not necessarily extended to Luxury hotel brands; Four Seasons, while seen as one of the highest quality brands, scores lower on Purchase Consideration, likely due to its high-end price tag.

Brand Equity
Hilton Hotels 63.00
Westin Hotels & Resorts 62.17
Sheraton Hotels & Resorts 62.01
Embassy Suites 61.98
Inter-Continental Hotels 61.72
Holiday Inns 61.65
Marriott Hotels 61.64
Courtyard by Marriott Hotels 61.21
Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts 61.04
W Hotels 60.93
Omni Hotels 60.72
Radisson Hotels & Resorts 60.51
Hampton Inn 60.24
Doubletree Hotels 59.38
Renaissance Hotels 59.18
Homewood Suites 59.05
Comfort Suites 58.88
Wyndham Hotels & Resorts 58.53
Hyatt Hotels 58.31
Comfort Inns & Suites 58.17
TownePlace Suites 57.91
Best Western Hotels 57.90
SpringHill Suites 57.88
Comfort Inn 57.77
Summerfield Suites 57.35
Clarion Hotels 56.78
LaQuinta 56.15
Quality Inn 55.48
Ramada Inns 55.31
Four Seasons 55.13
Days Inns 53.70
Sleep Inn 53.17
Conrad Hotels & Resorts 52.02
Red Roof Inns 51.68
MainStay Suites 50.07
Cambria Suites 49.37
Rodeway Inn 48.21
Suburban Extended Stay 48.07
Econo Lodge 47.87

Southwest Airlines continues to dominate all other airlines in Brand Equity for the second year in a row. In addition to receiving higher ratings for Quality and Purchase Consideration, Southwest has a much higher emotional connection with consumers than other airline brands. The low-cost carrier's move to set itself apart from other airlines by not having assigned seats and fostering an environment of high employee morale continues to pay off. Consumers recognize Southwest's good forward momentum by seeing the brand as being "ahead of the game" among airline brands.

Virgin Atlantic and Alaska Air rank second and third in Brand Equity, with Frontier Airlines and US Airways at the bottom of the category.

Brand Equity
Southwest Airlines 64.87
Virgin Atlantic Airlines 56.02
Alaska Air 55.82
JetBlue Airways 55.54
AirTran 55.20
American Airlines 54.85
British Airways 53.52
Delta Air Lines 53.33
Continental Airlines 53.12
United Airlines 52.81
Northwest Airlines 52.21
US Airways 51.18
Frontier Airlines 49.71

"Interestingly, while hotels have reacted to current economic conditions by offering the lowest room rates in years, airlines have attempted to make-up shortfalls in revenue by charging passengers for services that were once complementary. It is interesting to note that only one airline - Southwest - made the top 10 brand list for the overall travel category" according to Allison Powell, Research Director of Harris Interactive's Travel & Tourism Research Practice.

Rental Cars
For the second year, Enterprise Rent-A-Car ranks highest in Brand Equity, followed by Hertz Car Rental and Budget Rent A Car. Enterprise's highest ranking is driven by rising purchase consideration for the brand over the past three years.

Brand Equity
Enterprise Rent-A-Car 57.77
Hertz Car Rental 55.10
Budget Rent A Car 54.77
Avis Rent A Car 53.80
Alamo Rent A Car 52.62
Dollar Rental Car 52.50
Thrifty Car Rental 51.78
National Car Rental 51.65
Advantage Rent a Car 49.73

The EquiTrend® study evaluates measures including: Equity, Consumer Connection, Commitment, Energy, Brand Behavior, Brand Advocacy, and Trust. The keystone to the program is Equity, which provides an understanding of a brand's overall strength and is determined by a calculation of Familiarity, Quality, and Purchase Consideration.

This year's EquiTrend® study was conducted online among 19,708 U.S. consumers ages 15 and over between January 12 and 21, 2010. The total number of brands rated was 1,151. Each respondent was asked to rate a total of 60 randomly selected brands. Each brand received approximately 1,000 ratings. Data were weighted to be representative of the entire U.S. population of consumers ages 15 and over on the basis of age, sex, education, race/ethnicity, region, and income, and data from respondents ages 18 and over were also weighted for their propensity to be online.

The EquiTrend® study results disclosed in this release may not be used for advertising, marketing or promotional purposes without the prior written consent of Harris Interactive.

Product and brand names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners.
For a complete listing of all the brands covered in the study, contact Alyssa Hall at 212-539-9600 or

About Harris Interactive
Harris Interactive is one of the world's leading custom market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers expertise in a wide range of industries including automotive, healthcare, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, travel and consumer package goods. Serving clients in over 215 countries and territories through our North American, European, and Asian offices and a network of independent market research firms, Harris Interactive specializes in delivering research solutions that help us - and our clients - stay ahead of what's next. For more information, please visit


Alyssa Hall, Harris Interactive
+ 1 212 539 9600

About Hilton Hotels & Resorts

For nearly a century, Hilton Hotels & Resorts has been proudly welcoming the world's travelers. With 575 hotels across six continents, Hilton Hotels & Resorts provides the foundation for memorable travel experiences and values to every guest who walks through its doors. As the flagship brand of Hilton, Hilton Hotels & Resorts continues to set the standard for hospitality, providing new product innovations and services to meet guests' evolving needs. Hilton Hotels & Resorts is a part of the award-winning Hilton Honors program. Hilton Honors members who book directly through preferred Hilton channels have access to instant benefits, including a flexible payment slider that allows members to choose nearly any combination of Points and money to book a stay, an exclusive member discount that can’t be found anywhere else, free standard Wi-Fi, and digital amenities like digital check-in with room selection and Digital Key (select locations), available exclusively through the industry-leading Hilton Honors mobile app. Begin your journey at and learn more about the brand by visiting or following us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.