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Premier Inn: true love is knowing what you're getting

BrandVue's Most Loved Travel & Transport Brands 2022

Craig Strudley Senior Director 17/11/2022

BrandVue's Most Loved Travel & Transport Brands 2022

Whitbread-owned Premier Inn is the UK's largest hotel chain, offering more than 72,000 rooms across 800+ hotels. According to data from our latest BrandVue report, Premier Inn is also the UK’s most loved hotel chain.

Sheer scale and positive brand image do not always go hand in hand; however, in this case, the largest and most well-known operator is also viewed affectionately by many.

Looking at our Top 100 Most Loved Travel & Transport Brands League Table, Premier Inn places 8th, falling behind ever popular theme parks such as Universal Orlando Resort and Disney World Florida. It is the only hotel brand anywhere near the Top 10, leaving key competitors trailing behind. Travelodge is a distant 48th and other budget hotel brands such as ibis and Days Inn are well outside the Top 100.

So, what is the secret of Premier Inn’s continued success?

If we are looking purely at the numbers, all brand metrics are very strong.

The brand is very well known, and the trademark purple decor is recognizable to many of us. According to data from BrandVue, our daily brand tracking tool, Awareness stands at an extremely impressive 97.1%, with only Travelodge (95.4%) coming close.

Of course, a lot of this is down to successful advertising. Premier Inn was the first major budget hotel chain in this country to spend heavily on prime-time TV adverts. Lenny Henry became the face of the brand fifteen years ago and Advertising Awareness tracks strongly and consistently, approximately 15 points above Travelodge month-on-month.

Being the most well-known hotel brand, it is not surprising Premier Inn is also the most talked about, as illustrated by its ‘Buzz’ metrics on BrandVue. Less than 4% of Buzz for Premier Inn is negative in nature, resulting in net Positive Buzz of nearly 27% in September 2022, nearly double that of Travelodge.

So, Awareness and Familiarity are high, but what about Consideration?

Again, the brand performs strongly. Sixty-three percent of us would consider using a Premier Inn, with less than 4% declaring themselves outright rejectors. Consideration rises as you get older, peaking with those aged 50-59, but this is not a brand purely for the middle-aged – the cost-conscious younger generation also see the appeal.

Converting Consideration to Penetration is often the biggest challenge and, again, Premier Inn wins hands down with 23% stating they have stayed at one of their hotels in the past 12 months.

Awareness and scale certainly help drive Consideration but, returning to the question, what is behind Premier Inn’s success? One of the brand’s slogans is ‘True comfort is knowing what you are getting’ and this certainly appears to be a key element. In these uncertain times, consistency, reliability, and certainty are what many of us are looking for and these are all words used to describe Premier Inn.

Premier Inns are described as budget hotels, but a reasonable price does not mean a lack of love. You can find one almost anywhere you want to go, and you know what you are getting. For many this is the most important thing.

However, where Premier Inn falls behind its competitors is with ‘Brand Advantage’, which measures the percentage of people stating that a brand is ‘one of the best’ or ‘better than most others’. Premier Inn customers know it’s not a posh, ‘superior’ brand (like Savoy or The Ritz-Carlton that take the lead for this metric); but to reiterate, they know what they are getting, and are content with that. Customers are looking for peace of mind and value for money over a superior experience.

Premier Inn has strived hard to cultivate its brand image over the years and BrandVue data suggests its efforts have been very successful. They do the basics well – comfortable beds, high standards of cleanliness, free Wi-Fi, and family friendly. The latter is a key selling point, with Brand Love particularly high amongst those with children.

It’s been a turbulent few years for the hotel industry, to say the least, and the challenges keep on coming. Indications are that the cost-of-living crisis will result in people traveling less; however, being regarded as budget hotel and with a high degree of Brand Love, Premier Inn should fare better than most. Indeed, the challenge for Travelodge, ibis and the rest is whether they can close the gap on the key metrics discussed in our report.

We will watch with interest…

Download the full report here for discover who else made intro the Top 100 League Table as well as more of the latest trends and insights.

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