The top three most vulnerable hotel brands in the US are Carlson, Best Western, and Wyndham, according to the Brand Vulnerability Index (BVI) study, which measures the frustrations of consumers and their corresponding effects on behaviour, published by boutique consultancy CG42. This article is copyright 2012 The Best Customer Guide.

The study, which ranks the top hotel groups and loyalty programmes in the US according to the risks associated with their greatest vulnerabilities, found that the nation's nine biggest hotel groups are likely to lose some US$10 billion in customer spending during the next year.

"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 for CG42.

The study surveyed four components of brand vulnerability, including:

  1. The frequency of customer frustrations;
  2. Customer sharing behaviour (i.e. the disclosure of frustrations via word-of-mouth or via social media);
  3. The impact of frustrations on customer behaviour, including spending;
  4. The uniqueness of those frustrations to a particular hotel group or loyalty programme.

Responses were collected, analysed, and modelled to produce a ranking of the top 9 hotel groups and loyalty programmes, from most vulnerable to least vulnerable, as follows:

  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).

Among the key findings from the index study were:

  • The top three most vulnerable players ranked by Brand Vulnerability Score (BVS) are Carlson, Best Western, and Wyndham with projected combined losses of US$1.8 billion in traveller 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.