How many times have you surfed around the web searching for a hotel or place to stay and then when comparing them on or you notice that on one site the same hotel is listed as a five-star hotel whereas on the other site it’s only three stars. This can cause quite some confusion when it comes to looking at quality and the actual hotel star ratings and raises the question as to why they are not the same on every website.

When it comes to doing your homework online, there is no “one size fits all” rating scheme that every company uses and when it comes down to the actual star rating of the hotel or accommodation, this too may differ.

Let’s explore why.

First off, quality is always subjective. One you find luxurious may not be the same for everyone else. And albeit most hotel comparison or booking sites having similar definitions in regards to their ratings, the way they ultimately classify a hotel differs in the description.

Take the 1-star rating. Across various sites, you’ll find that for a hotel to be categorized as one star they must fall into the 1-star category by fulfilling a companies needs. The terminology used by three sites for this category is listed below.:

Meets budget basic needsEconomy, no-frills accommodationsSimple accommodations

So you see. It is quite similar, however, the criteria that fall behind each of these varies from company to company.

Hence, don’t simply trust the ratings, always check each sites rating guidelines and also user reviews, ratings, and testimonials. myCiity, as an example, will display both the hotel star rating along with the user related rating.

Hotel ratings differ from site to site

On top of this once you scroll down you’ll find the categories users can review broken down further into specific headers to give you a quick glance at how others aggregately evaluate the specific hotel you’re looking at. These are confirmed by Trustyou, the world largest customer feedback platform.

Travel experts will recommend that you go beyond the star rating and look for high-quality photos, down to the core property details, and what other real customers actually have to say so that you can make the most informed decision.

Now the fun part.

The actual star rating of a hotel is given by the countries national authority responsible for ratings. The criteria, albeit like the above example, often being quite similar from country to country, the interpretation of them differ. So what might classify as a five-star hotel in Canada may not be the same as in Morroco or Singapore.

Ratings are generally given out on a bi-yearly basis and hotels keep their rating, improve or drop depending on the required criteria. So the “real” star rating is actually the one you see on the building when you walk into the hotel. The one that has been given out by the national authority.

So, when looking back at the above points in regards to comparison sites, yes, the terminology may be quite similar but the ratings on each of those sites for the stars may differ, typically slightly. One site may rate a 3-star hotel 2.5 while the other rates it 3.5.

It really depends on the classification system the company uses that includes taking all the hotel data, amenities, reviews, customer feedback, benchmarks, etc and bundling them into a rating. In most cases they are exactly the same as the actual star rating by the given country, yet at times they’ll vary slightly. It would be bad for business if all the hotels on a site did not actually match the rating given out by the authorities of the country. You as a customer would probably not book on their site anymore.

Hopefully that has given you some insight into this small phenomenon. Let us know what you think in the comments below. How do you see the ratings system?

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