July 2015: Protea Hotels, part of Marriott International, has been awarded top spot in the Hotels Category in the Ask Afrika 2015/2016 Icon Brands Survey, a significant accolade for South Africa’s leading hospitality group.

According to Maria Petousis, the Director of Target Group Index (TGI), which conducted the survey in partnership with City Press and Rapport, “An ICON Brand identifies a brand that is ubiquitous and quintessentially South African. These are companies loved by South Africans, which have built up a great sense of loyalty among their customer base.”

During the course of the survey – the results of which were announced at a glittering function in Melrose Arch, Johannesburg, this week – the survey group created 28 ICON brands from the thousands initially included in the survey, and Protea Hotels leads the brands in the hotels sector.

Danny Bryer, the Director of Sales and Marketing for the Protea Hotels Group, says, “The award is an affirmation of the strategies adopted by Protea, in particular our marketing strategy, in that it recognises our brand as one which our customers align with in terms of defining their status and their aspirations. Our research reveals that we have a loyal customer base, with many of our guests returning multiple times, and this is confirmed by what the consumers surveyed had to say about Protea.”

A further issue of importance is that this award shows that the Protea brand is revered across a wide range of demographic categories within the South African population.

The data used to identify the top brands was sourced from the largest survey of its kind in South Africa, covering 19 industry sectors, hundreds of product categories and thousands of brands. “The credibility of the survey is proven by the extent of the population sample surveyed,” says Petousis, explaining that all communities with over 8 000 inhabitants across South Africa were included, and that the survey targeted a range of ages by involving different age groups from 15 years and up.” Including almost 16 000 people, the consumers surveyed represent approximately 23,3 million adult South African consumers – based on a weighting of the South African population as defined by Statistics South Africa.

This latest award follows closely on the heels of further recognition of the Protea Hotels Group by its customers and the hospitality industry. Just over a month ago, the international travel site, TripAdvisor, announced that 24 Protea Hotels and African Pride Hotels – which are part of the Protea Hotels Group – had been acknowledged as TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence Award winners for 2015. The Group has also twice received World Travel Awards for Best Hotel Group in Africa, 3 Sunday Times Markinor Top Hotel Brand Awards, and 6 Sunday Times Generation Next Awards for the Coolest Hotel Group.

“It is thrilling once again to receive this type of recognition,” Bryer says. “Protea Hotels is proud of what we do, and it is clear that we are going way beyond our customers’ expectations.”