SOURCE: The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C.

March 29, 2005 17:01 ET

The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C. Named Most Prestigious Luxury Brand

CHEVY CHASE, MD -- (MARKET WIRE) -- March 29, 2005 -- The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C. was named "the most prestigious luxury brand" among 52 elite brands rated by wealthy consumers in the United States. The study conducted by the Luxury Institute in New York City evaluated four major luxury categories: automobiles, hotels and resorts, fashion designers and retailers.

The proprietary Luxury Brand Status Index (LBSI) and its survey are the only available measures of the value and equity of leading luxury brands to wealthy Americans. LBSI is based on statistically meaningful data collected from wealthy consumers themselves. The index incorporates four major "pillars" of value: consistently superior quality, exclusivity, enhanced social status, and the brand's ability to make the customer feel special.

In addition to measuring individual and composite metrics of the wealthy by age, gender, income and net worth, the survey also measures a brand's ability to command a significant premium price. It also correlates this price premium with the four critical factors in the composite LBSI index.

Using LBSI, the Luxury Institute surveyed more than 200 households with minimum $200,000 in gross annual income and $750,000 net worth (including home equity). The sample profile was split evenly male/female with a median age of 45.9. The brands to be rated were selected by conducting individual interviews with wealthy consumers. Following this, the brands chosen were further ranked by luxury print advertising media expenditure.

Half of the top ten brands across the four categories were automobile companies. These were led by Porsche and Mercedes. Fashion designers took three of the top ten brand spots, led by Armani.

"The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company is delighted to be named the No. 1 luxury brand in a study published by the Luxury Institute this month (March 2005). This is a great honor which reinforces the comments we receive from our guests on a daily basis," said Simon Cooper, COO and president. "The study mirrors data we frequently receive which outlines guest satisfaction with the brand as well as its value, uniqueness and exclusivity. This is a great testament to the quality of our product and the overall experience delivered so warmly and thoughtfully by the ladies and gentlemen of The Ritz-Carlton."

The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C. of Chevy Chase, Md., (USA) currently operates 58 hotels in the Americas, Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa. It is the only service company to have twice earned the prestigious Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, which recognizes outstanding customer service. For more information, call toll free, 1-800-241-3333, contact a travel professional, or consult the web site at www.ritzcarlton.com.

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