With a myriad of travel and booking websites available to hotel guests, it can be difficult to make a decision based on varying ratings scales. Most systems use stars to classify establishments, but how can you know which is most accurate?
Guides such as AAA, Orbitz, Michelin and Expedia use many factors to determine ratings, such as room size, location and view, dining, service, décor and toiletries. Because of this, there are frequent inconsistencies that make it challenging for visitors to find a quality hotel.
As a result, many users conduct their own research, often taking more time than needed sifting through hundreds of reviews. To simplify the process, keep these things in mind:
When searching online, consult user reviews only – no testimonials on the hotel website or other endorsements. These tend to be the most honest descriptions of what you can expect. Avoid the reviews on booking sites, as well – instead, read reviews on Tripadvisor.com or another site that aggregates their own.
Make sure the reviews you assess are recent. They may indicate things that will affect your stay, such as renovations or nearby construction. Additionally, look for reviewers that are similar to you. Guests traveling for business, for example, may mention a conference room, but make no comments about the pool or spa.
If you come across a one-off review that is different from others, disregard it. Try to get an overall sense of how satisfied guests were, rather than focus on one negative comment.
Even if you use a booking site like Expedia or Travelocity, it’s a good idea to visit the hotel’s website to get the most up-to-date information about the establishment. Booking sites may not have images for every type of room, and they don’t always include information about all amenities. You will also have access to contact information to follow up with any questions or concerns.
Source: Consumer Reports