Brand performance can be read in the leaves

Stephan Shakespeare
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Looking at YouGov’s BrandIndex, we sometimes have a sense of how a brand is performing before any major announcements to the City are made. Take the UK restaurant and hotel business Whitbread, which has announced promising profits for the start of the year, primarily because of an improvement in the hotel market, and an increased share for its hotel subsidiary Premier Inn.

BrandIndex has shown Premier Inn’s scores rising since early April at a rate equalled by another of Whitbread’s leading subsidiaries, Costa Coffee. Premier Inn’s satisfaction score, measured by subtracting those who are dissatisfied customers from those who are satisfied, started April on a low of 16.0, rising to 23.4 on 27 May, and remains above twenty. Equally, Costa was 16.7 on 5 April, but stood at 22.5 on the 18 June.

Premier Inn sales this year in the 13 weeks up to 3 June were up 10.5 per cent on the same period last year. Costa sales also witnessed a significant increase of 8.5 per cent.

Premier Inns has opened four new branches of the budget hotel over the past quarter, and Costa also has plans for expansion – looking to open 250 new shops by the end of this financial year, no doubt looking to gain market share from its leading competitors, Starbucks and Caffè Nero.

Once again, when comparing both Premier Inn and Costa to these competitors, it is clear to see why Whitbread has announced improving profits and is looking to expand.

The coffee giant Starbucks started April with satisfaction scores at 11.6, and having wavered between 11 and 13, slumped to 10.4 on 22 June. Holiday Inn, a rival budget hotel chain, has seen fluctuating scores, but its satisfaction score has not risen above 14.1 (7 June) since before April.

Stephan Shakespeare is founder and chief executive of YouGov.