Five-star, three-star, no-star – hotel reviews can be summed up quite neatly with these little ratings. But what do they all really mean to potential guests and hotel managers? When you know how to interpret them, they mean a lot. Here’s a quick guide to the good, the bad, and the ugly of online hotel reviews.
Good hotel reviews – four- and five-star reviews – aren’t hard to come by. The vast majority of hotel reviews are positive. When you’re looking for a place to stay, it’s obvious that you want to zone in on the hotels with the highest ratings and best reviews. The best reviews have nothing but good things to say about all aspects of their stay, but good reviews often contain one or two minor complaints, though they’re positive overall. If you really want to find the best place to stay, look for hotels with lots of good reviews, not just a handful. The more high ratings a hotel has across many different review sites, the more likely it is to live up to your expectations, and the less likely the reviews are to be fake.
For hotel managers, good reviews are like gold. The more they have, the more reservations they’ll get, and the more money they’ll make. Good reviews are a very coveted currency in the hotel industry.
Bad reviews are those that give two- or three-star ratings. Three-star ratings are debatable, and oftentimes three-star-rated hotels aren’t really that bad at all. When you’re looking at bad three-star reviews, you have to consider the context of them and what’s really being said. People can complain about all sorts of things that are more personal than bad-review worthy, like a hotel being too crowded on the weekend a huge sports game was happening. Bad two-star reviews often offer useful opinions on things like customer service, appearance, amenities, and other things that are important when choosing a hotel, so listen to them closely, and perhaps stay away.
Because there are so many hotels to choose from, bad reviews aren’t considered good enough or acceptable to most hotel managers. They’ll usually take the comments seriously and try to improve or remedy them whenever possible.
Ugly hotel reviews are one-star or no-star reviews, and of course you’ll want to avoid hotels that have a large number or majority of ugly reviews. Ugly reviews can have some general negative comments, but they often contain scathing commentary that totally damns the hotel. In ugly reviews, you’ll find out the real dirt, and you’ll hear about things like bed bugs, theft, lack of cleanliness, instances of a hotel portraying itself very inaccurately in its advertising, and more. Sometimes people leave ugly reviews that are unfair to the hotel or based on a very uncommon or unlikely-to-repeat occurrence, so you’ll have to judge them for yourself.
Ugly reviews are a hotel manager’s worst nightmare, and they should be responded to and remedied whenever possible, as soon as possible. When ugly reviews prevail, they’re like kisses of death to any targeted hotel.
Henry Collins is a small business owner who works as a freelance writer when he has time. He often gives advice to other small business owners about automotive review monitoring tactics.