American Marketer

Travel and hospitality

Ritz-Carlton named top hotel brand in survey of affluent travelers

November 30, 2017

The survey ranked hotel brands based on customer service and luxury appeal. Image credit: Ritz-Carlton


The Ritz-Carlton came out on top in a new global survey of luxury hotel experiences from affluent travelers in seven countries.

The rankings come from the Luxury Institute, which surveyed almost 4,000 different consumers in the top 10 percent income bracket in their respective countries. The Ritz-Carlton scored higher than any other hotel brand in terms of superior quality, customer service and unique experience.

"Today, top-rated brands in the luxury hotel category are those that are able to ensure consistent execution on the four pillars of value: quality, exclusivity, social status and making guests feel truly special," said Milton Pedraza, CEO of the Luxury Institute, New York.

Customer service

Hotel brands today rely on more than just convenience and name recognition to secure customers.

In the era when customers are more educated about what they spend their money on than ever before, luxury brands need to stand out by providing the highest level of customer service they can to get ahead of the pack.

According to a new survey from the Luxury Institute, that is exactly what The Ritz-Carlton has done.

Exterior of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel de la Paix, Geneva. Image credit: Ritz-Carlton

The Marriott International-owned luxury hotel chain scored higher than dozens of other hospitality brands, including Trump Hotels, Waldorf Astoria and Le Meridien, thanks to consistently superior quality, unique experiences and customers commonly feeling that they were treated as special guests and not just a walking wallet.

The Luxury Institute calculated a score between one and 10 for every hotel brand and averaged them among all the responses from the many affluent customers who took the survey. The Ritz-Carlton scored a 7.95, beating any other brand.

Some additional data from the study shows that Chinese travelers continue to be a dominant force in the luxury industry, accounting for a large percentage of foreign visitors to luxury hotels.

Global destinations
Recently, Ritz-Carlton has expanded its marketing efforts, attempting to bring in customers from around the world and highlight some of its properties outside of typical vacation destinations.

For instance, Ritz-Carlton is giving its social media followers a firsthand look at the experience of traveling in Japan through a series with photographer Trey Ratcliff.

Part of the collaborative “80 Stays Around the World” campaign, this chapter will see the influencer decamp to the Asian nation, staying at Ritz-Carlton properties along the way. While hospitality brands create their own imagery, having additional unaffiliated individuals document their hotels can help bring an increased level of authenticity to their visual marketing (see story).

The Ritz-Carlton Tokyo. Image credit: Ritz-Carlton

Similarly, Ritz-Carlton is bringing its brand into Switzerland with the opening of a Geneva property.

Following a multi-million dollar renovation, the 152-year-old Hotel de la Paix is relaunching as a Ritz-Carlton branded hotel. Established first in the United States, the Ritz-Carlton’s presence is mostly concentrated in the Americas and in Asia, making this latest opening a chance to expand its footprint in Europe (see story).

"When you are dealing with a global hotel brand that has dozens of worldwide locations, success is the result of intensive training and education of people in mastering emotional intelligence, complemented by the smart application of technology to run the business more efficiently and to market itself to consumers more effectively," Luxury Institute's Mr. Pedraza said. "Compelling and unique bricks-and-mortar today are table stakes."