Hotel Online  Special Report

Most Prestigious Luxury Hotel Brand? Ritz-Carlton Rated
a Strong First, Four Seasons a Strong Second
Among 15 Luxury Brands Rated 


NEW YORK - March 21, 2005 -- Wealthy consumers, take note as you make vacation plans for summer! Ritz-Carlton earned highest honors as the most prestigious brand in its segment, according to the new luxury hotel survey from the New York, NY-based Luxury Institute. Ritz-Carlton and Four Seasons are truly in a class by themselves as the strongest luxury hotel and resorts brands in the 2005 Luxury Brand Status Index survey. The Institute only surveys wealthy consumers with household incomes above $200K and average net worth of at least $2 million.

Fifteen luxury hotel and resorts brands were rated overall including:

Four Seasons,
Le Meridien,
Leading Hotels,
Mandarin Oriental,
Orient Express,
Park Hyatt,
St. Regis, and
W Hotels.
"Prestige ratings are based on the tangible and intangible experiences that luxury brands deliver to their customers and prospects," said Milton Pedraza, CEO of the Luxury Institute. "Ritz-Carlton consistently outperformed the competition in all four critical attributes of a luxury brand, scoring an overall rating of 81 vs. 77 for Four Seasons and 66 for St. Regis. According to the wealthy surveyed, many other "luxury hotel brands" need to go to school on these winners and improve their performance significantly."

Ritz-Carlton rated a strong first in terms of delivering consistently superior quality, a mere cost of entry in the luxury category. Four Seasons was a strong second. The rest of the field rated well below these two top brands.

On exclusivity and uniqueness, a critical indicator that truly defines a luxury brand, Ritz-Carlton also scored highest, with Four Seasons second. Mandarin Oriental came in third.

Social status is a taboo discussion topic among the wealthy. Yet, they still crave it. With regard to being brands "that are used by people who are admired and respected", a measure of the social status that a true luxury brand possesses, Ritz took the highest honors with Four Seasons a close second and St. Regis placed third.

The overall customer experience is one of the most critical factors in a brand's measure as a luxury brand. Ritz took top honors, yet again, in "making the buyer feel special". Four Seasons again came in a solid second, again followed by St. Regis.

Unlike wannabe luxury consumers, the rich are very savvy and unforgiving with respect to value for money. They are not called "the smart money" for nothing. When the Luxury Institute mapped each brand's value index to each brand's worthiness of a significant price premium, Ritz-Carlton and Four Seasons were rated by far to be the brands most worthy of a significant price premium. Two other major price/value brand clusters emerged from the research.

The upside for Ritz-Carlton is that the brand just keeps getting stronger. Rich people rated it highest on having improved its status as a luxury brand in the past 12 months. W Hotels came is a strong second on luxury brand status improvement.

The proprietary Luxury Brand Status Index (LBSI) is the only measure available of the value and equity of leading luxury brands to wealthy Americans, based on statistically meaningful data collected from wealthy consumers themselves. The LBSI incorporates four main "pillars" of value: consistently superior quality, exclusivity, a measure of enhanced social status, and a measure of the ability of a brand to make a customer "feel special". Seven point scale ratings are converted to a 0-100 scale.

The Luxury Institute is an in-depth research, subscription-based organization that focuses solely on the top 10% of America's wealthy. 


The Luxury Institute

Also See: Zagat's Consumer Survey Rates Amanresorts and Four Seasons Best Hotel Chains in the World; Surveyors Found Hospitality in Hotels, Resorts Outside the United States Better than Those Within the U.S. / April 2004
Zagat Survey 2005 - Top U.S. Hotel and Restaurant Ratings; Peninsula Chicago and Peninsula Beverly Hills Ranked #1 and #2, Fitness Centers the Most Important Hotel Amenity, Italian is Americans' Preferred Cuisine / November 2004

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