Whether a necessary evil or a welcome pleasure, traveling could always be simpler and inevitably, richer in its reward. So many companies across travel, transport, and hospitality are ignoring the premium people are willing to pay for simplicity. A cool 20 percent more, to be exact.
According to our World’s Simplest Brands study that surveys 15,000 customers across nine countries about 800 brands, the leaders are keeping it simple, and the laggards are sliding further down the ranks.
So, who are they and what can we learn?
Transport in the driving seat
Lyft, the brand that recently delivered its one-billionth ride has earned its spot as the number one simplest brand in the US. Driven by people (in more ways than one,) their approach to re-invent cities around people and not cars is paying dividends. By optimizing the customer journey, Lyft is able to deliver what people need: a simple, intuitive app and a feel-good experience rooted in a purpose to build connections between people.
Uber, by comparison, lags tremendously, with diminishing clarity on its ride-sharing proposition and a continued question mark over the honesty and fairness of its people policy. Likewise, many brands have been slow to evolve in the car rental sector, with premium brands like Hertz and AVIS falling behind. In this case, complexity is cloaked in hidden costs and additional charges that are continually underwhelming to customers who are begging for a brand to buck the trend and design services in their interests.
At the mention of hidden costs, Ryanair, the Irish budget airline, has dropped even further this year, plummeting to the #138 position. The customer journey has remained bumpy, unclear and full of friction. Enough to prompt one respondent in the study to say, “I would rather pay more for flights and get a decent experience” and another, “cannot identify true cost until booking is complete.”
Searching for the ideal
When it comes to travel search, trivago was the simplest travel brand globally. By striving towards an easier customer journey, trivago is ahead of its peers in this year’s rankings. The brand that recently saw a surge in its stock price makes it easy to find your ideal hotel. As their CEO puts it, “we have always believed that there is strength in simplicity, as it creates a basis by which you can continuously evolve.” What can we learn from trivago? Brands that don’t grow complacent but instead continue to simplify and save time for their customers will not only gain their trust but will be awarded a premium for it.
Premier Inn has once again made an appearance among our Top 10 Simplest Brands in the UK, elevating its position four spots since 2016. The hotel chain consistently delivers on a promise of comfort and quality, with an unwavering commitment to the ‘soundest sleep’ (positioning their beds as ‘the stuff of dreams’). Proof that winning brands are mindful of what’s important, while still leaving room for surprising extras that can make a real difference.
So, simplicity isn’t always easy, but it does deliver success. As a customer, am I clear? Check. Is this experience for me and do I know how to get the best from it? Check. Can I focus on what’s important (a night’s sleep or a night out)? Check. A winning formula, which if you get it right, has the power to increase revenue and over time, strengthen customer engagement.
This is the kind of premium I’d pay for—or pray for an upgrade to.