The ten most-improved US travel brands
March 4th, 2022, Hoang Nguyen

The ten most-improved US travel brands

In YouGov’s recent report, Travel & Tourism: Brand and Destination Rankings 2022, we evaluated the top travel brands in nine countries and the leading destinations for consumers around the globe.

Across airlines, hotels, amusement parks and travel agencies in the US, Marriott, Hilton and five other hotel brands dominated seven of the ten top travel brand spots. And while the performance of these giants is impressive, in this piece we recognize the companies that managed to grow their brand over the course of the pandemic.

Download the full report for insights into the trends, challenges and opportunities the travel sector faces in 2022

Using data from YouGov BrandIndex - which measures consumer perceptions toward brands on a daily basis - we determined our most-improved travel brands ranking by comparing their average Impression score for 2021 to their score for the previous year. Impression is a net measure of whether a consumer has a positive or negative impression of a brand.

Among the top ten most-improved travel brands in the US, nine fall in the accommodations category. Waldorf Astoria leads our improvers overall, showing an increase in Impression of +2.1 points between 2020 and 2021. Waldorf Astoria’s iconic New York location has been closed for the past four and half years and is set to reopen in 2023. The Hilton-owned luxury hotel brand ranks 28th in our overall top travel brand ranking.

Runner-up Wyndham Hotels & Resorts improved by +1.9-points. According to Wyndham’s President and CEO Geoff Ballotti, demand for the company’s hotels was driven last year by continued strength in leisure travel as well as business travel in the construction, utility and trucking industries. Wyndham-owned Ramada also makes an appearance on the list at number 8 and shows an improvement of +1.2-points from 2020.

Colonial Williamsburg (number 3 on the top improvers list), Courtyard by Marriot (number 6), Ritz-Carlton (number 7) and Westin (number 8) are all part of Marriott’s portfolio of hotel brands and earn spots on this year’s ranking. Notably, Courtyard by Marriott is the only travel brand to earn a spot in both the most-improved travel brands ranking and our top ten travel brands ranking (third overall).

Airbnb and Amtrack are the only travel brands on the most-improved list that fall outside of the hotels category. Despite headwinds from Delta and Omicron variants, airbnb announced it is seeing strong pent-up demand for summer travel, with over 25% more nights for the summer travel season booked by January 2022 than during the same period in 2019.

Four Seasons registered a lift in Impression of +1.2 points to round out the list of most-improved travel brands. In September 2021, Bill Gates’ investment firm paid $2.21 billion for a controlling stake in the luxury hotel operator, which is now valued at $10 billion. The timing of the investment is significant as the travel industry continues to recover and suggests there’s reason to be optimistic about the future of luxury travel in the coming years.

Download YouGov’s Brand and Destination Rankings 2022 report for deeper insights into what the year has in store for travel companies and destinations around the globe


Brands were ranked based on the change in Impression score, which is a measure of whether a consumer has a positive or negative impression of a brand calculated by taking the average net score for the year of 2020 (1st January 2020 – 31st December 2020) and subtracting it from a brand’s average net score in 2021 (1st January 2021 – 31st December 2021). Consumers were asked “Which of the following brands do you have a positive impression of?”, then "Which of the following brands do you have a negative impression of?".

All scores listed have been rounded to a single decimal place; however, we have used additional precision to assign ranks. All brands must be tracked for at least six months to be included in either ranking.

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