All four brands rank in the top 20 – at 8, 10, 12 and 14 respectively - of the latest Global Brand Simplicity Index by Siegel+Gale.
Now in its seventh year, the annual index takes the views of 14,000 consumers in nine countries to rank the world’s biggest brands based on their simplicity.
Siegel+Gale says in an increasingly competitive market, it pays for brands to have a simple proposition and message, with those doing so enjoying greater growth, customer loyalty and higher profits.
“Complexity is fast becoming the silent killer of profitable business growth. Brands that don’t simplify are leaving almost £70 billion on the table hence the increasing premium placed on simplicity today,” said Liana Dinghile, group strategy director, Siegel+Gale.
“Customers are avidly seeking experiences that make their lives simpler and the brands winning are the ones that focus their efforts on making this happen. Simplicity is definitely not easy but it does pay.”
Rana Brightman, strategy director at Siegel+Gale, said Premier Inn consistently scores highly within the ranking because it is a ‘perennially simple brand’, plus the booking process across its 700 hotels was easy for guests.
“Having shown a commitment to consistent brand evolution and a decision to extend its marketing messages beyond price. The clear ‘Good night guarantee’ promise has rang true with respondents who commented on Britain’s largest budget hotel chain’s ‘straightforward diction and standardised product,’” she said. “Although in the UK we may see disruptor brands like Airbnb biting at the heels, the difference here is that with Premier Inn you know exactly what you are getting.”
Other hotel brands to appear on the list of 126 were InterContinental (up 20 places to 30), Hilton (up 26 places to 46) and Holiday Inn (down 14 to 54).
Hotel bookings and deals websites Booking.com (9), Lastminute.com (22), Travelzoo (24), Trivago (27) and Expedia (38) also appear, as do out-of-home brands McDonald's, Pret a Manger, Burger King, KFC and Starbucks.
Brightman said IHG and Hilton's focus on building 'diverse, yet clearly differentiated' portfolios of long-standing brands serving the varying needs of guests in an age where trust matters had helped them move up the chart this year.
"From IHG’S affordable Holiday Inn to the Intercontinental luxury brand and Hilton’s Double Tree upscale business traveller offering to its iconic Waldorf Astoria, both brands benefit from a strong presence globally," she said. "Consumers trust brands with heritage and value the comfort and established security they provide. The challenge is in managing their global, local and personal assets simultaneously and this is where the imperative of trust comes into play.
"IHG, for instance, is managing this challenge by making its membership simple to sign on to and meaningful for consumers by building ‘moments of trust.’ We know that the most powerful brands live at the intersection of clarity and surprise so by offering clear advice and guidance tailored to their individual needs and using this information gathered to surprise and delight them with moments that make them feel valued too means IHG is cementing enduring connections built around trust. An experience that actually touches your customers and engages them in a way that leaves a lasting emotional memory is one of the best brand builders."
Brightman said hospitality brands looking to stay high in consumers' minds, should build their offering around 'authentic' customer service.
"There isn’t a more powerful way to make a long-lasting connection," she said. "A look at the airline industry in particular – which is fast evolving from merely providing transportation to being a hospitality and services business – we notice some brands dropping down in the simplicity stakes. Easyjet and Ryanair are examples of how even the most basic ideas can become embroiled with hidden terms and conditions. In the minds of many consumers, they have become masters of complexity, concealing true costs of tickets and drawing people to a stage in the booking process where it’s easer to go on than turn back."