Hotel ratings: Have they had their day?
It used to be so simple – if you were looking to impress, a five-star hotel on the beach with a sea view was what you booked. And budget travellers would seek out those two and three-star affairs that may or may not offer a satisfactory breakfast. It would generally take an hour or less to make up your mind.
Nowadays, choosing a hotel for your holiday involves poring over thousands of reviews as you try to determine which accommodation will serve your needs best during your time away. TripAdvisor alone claims to have more than 150 million contributions, and in this day and age, some in the travel industry are asking what the point is of having a five-star system.
Both the Telegraph and CNN have posted articles recently, both questioning whether or not people still look towards the star-rating system and what it might mean if they don’t.
There are, of course, concerns that sites such as TripAdvisor are difficult to police – reviews aren’t verified and owners can post false ones on their own entry, or even someone else’s.
On the other hand, some people desire a level of detail that a simple four-star rating can’t give them. Is the breakfast up to scratch? Are tea and coffee-making facilities provided in the rooms? These are questions we rarely knew the answers to until we reached the hotel.
But how much information is too much? When you’ve spent a solid 24 hours looking at reviews for hotels, you have to realise you’re probably spending too much time on this, and that no place is going to please absolutely everyone. In that respect, the star system’s simplicity was very useful. You knew roughly what level of service to expect and how much you were likely to pay for it.
With TripAdvisor growing ever more popular and some hotels awarding themselves seven stars instead of five, however, it means things are likely to become ever more confusing for those wishing to go by this system.