COVID-19 could cost the top hotel brands up to $14 billion (£11.4bn) in their brand value, according to new research.

Brand Finance has assessed the impact of the pandemic on enterprise value, compared to what it was at the beginning of this year.

It said Hilton remained the world’s most valuable brand and Mercure was the fastest growing in its top 50 rankings with a growth rate of 57%.

Premier Inn claimed the world’s strongest brand title, while Airbnb was the most valuable leisure and tourism brand, with a value of $10.5bn (£8.5bn).

However, Brand Finance said the pandemic would undoubtedly wreak havoc on hotels in the coming year and in terms of reputational damage, those that did not manage to avoid any association with the outbreak could suffer lasting harm.

While Hilton’s revenue will take a hit following Covid-19, Brand Finance said it was consistently boosting its reputation during the crisis using a range of measures.

These included lighting up its buildings in support of the NHS, donating free parking spots to healthcare professionals, and teaming up with American Express to donate a million overnight stays to frontline medical workers across the Unites States.

Brand Finance’s analysis shows the hotels sector is one of the most heavily impacted industries globally and could face a potential 20% loss in brand value.

Beyond hotels, the value of the 500 most valuable brands in the world could fall by an estimated $1trillion (£815.3bn) as a result of coronavirus.

Savio D’Souza, director, Brand Finance, said: “Unsurprisingly, the Covid-19 pandemic is going to hit the hotels sector hard as holidays are cancelled and people work from home.

“While Brand Finance has predicted that hotel brands could face an average 20% loss of brand value, the brands that will be less impacted will be properties with strong brands where social distancing protocols will be easier such as resorts and extended stay properties.

“Unsurprisingly, brands with a larger exposure to primary markets will be impacted more than secondary and tertiary markets as customers move their preference to properties within ‘drive-to’ markets.”