For the ninth year running, Interbrand’s latest list of the 100 Best Global Brands, topped by Apple, Google and Microsoft, does not feature the travel industry.
To be included, a brand must transcend geographic and cultural boundaries. 30% of revenue must come from outside of the brand’s home region, and it must have a significant presence in Asia, Europe and North America, as well as emerging markets. There must be publicly available data on the brand’s financial performance and the brand must have a public awareness across the major economies of the world.
The brand with closest ties to travel on this year’s list is Louis Vuitton, in the Top 100 since 2007. Marriott was the last travel brand to make the list in 2008, and Hilton appeared around the turn of the century.
Penelope Davis, Interbrand senior director, suggests one travel company that might actually make the list soon is Airbnb, “a hospitality brand backed by technology”.
The finding is that nearly every luxury hospitality company on earth is trying to deliver a message about “sense of place” or “local experiences”, but while a brand can lay claim to a message it doesn’t mean it’s perceived as true. Brands need to fight for their differentiation and capture that difference uniquely, especially luxury travel brands.