Are formal ratings important? You tell me
25 FEBRUARY 2016 7:30 AM
Lots of you read the news release posted earlier this week about Forbes Travel Guide’s list of annual star ratings. Are these formal ratings still important to your business?
It’s always interesting to see how the stories we write and post on Hotel News Now resonate with readers. Most of the time our predictions about what will perform well when it comes to views and reader engagement are spot-on—for example, put “Marriott” and “Starwood” in a headline together and it’s the hotel industry’s equivalent of a Kardashian headline when it comes to views.
Sometimes we see surprises though. Earlier this week we posted an item about the latest listing of Forbes Travel Guide’s Star Rating recipients (“Forbes: 154 hotels win 5 stars”) and the views on this release were higher than we had predicted for a pretty normal news item.
So I wanted to call attention to two HNN articles that examine the idea of whether these traditional rating systems are relevant.
Take a look at “Are travel guides still relevant?” which we published back in September, and “Hoteliers balance formal ratings, user reviews,” which we published in the dark old ages (in the digital content world at least) of 2013.
You might expect that given our perception of today’s hotel guest—picky millennials who live and die by TripAdvisor and Yelp reviews—the consensus would be that these archaic guidebook ratings don’t matter.
But when you look at these articles, combined with the strong views on the Forbes announcement, it’s another reminder that guest behavior when it comes to making booking decisions isn’t all about user reviews.
Formal ratings from Forbes and AAA, which still require in-person property inspections by professionals, still matter, and they aren’t going away. Even in the two-year span between the articles we published on the topic, the consensus remained the same: guests use a combination of tools to help them make a hotel decision. Sure, ratings fans may skew older compared to review fans, but let this be another simple reminder that there’s a whole world of paying hotel guests out there.
I’m interested to know what you think. Why are formal ratings still important to your hotel? Let me know in the comments below.
Shares of the week
This week I have two interesting items to share. The first caught my eye because it’s somewhat related to the blog I wrote last week about airport pod hotels.
Have you heard about the Lost Hotel? It’s a pop-up tent hotel concept that’s popular at the Burning Man festival in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert.
This year city officials in Indio, California, are voting to approve the Lost Hotel to pop up for the Coachella music festival.
Here’s how it works, according to an article in The Desert Sun—the pop-up hotel is built of 144 tent-like cubes, erected in vacant space. The “hotel” is occupied during the festival, and then comes down once it’s over to move to the next festival.
It’s owned by a company called Festival Lodging, and the tent city, err, pop-up hotel, is pretty glamorous, by festival standards. Guests can book a 9x9x9 “shelter cube tent” or a 16x16x10 “glamping tent.” There’s a lobby bar, shared bathrooms, a communal grilling area—and the proposed pop-up at Coachella would have “a lounge and restaurant on the ground floor” for the expected 300 guests.
The city council is voting on permit approval for the tent hotel, so it’s going through an active regulatory process. The concept is interesting. Is it right for a hotel brand? I think it already IS a hotel brand. Check it out.
My second share this week is a PR success story that could have been an itchy nightmare. On Sunday one of my favorite Cleveland Cavaliers, Kyrie Irving, left the game against the Oklahoma City Thunder complaining of flu-like symptoms.
Turns out, he had bed bugs.
“Our team said I was out with flu-like symptoms,” Irving said after the following night’s game against the Detroit Pistons. “It was honestly from the bed bugs from the frickin’ Hilton that we stayed at.”
The “frickin’ Hilton” in question was the Skirvin Hilton Hotel in downtown Oklahoma City.
And the best part of this story is that the hotel confirmed it. They did it in a professional, classy way, giving just enough detail, and proving that facing an issue head-on is always better than denying a problem or ignoring it.
Frankly, I think Kyrie’s being a bit of a baby about this. Only nine minutes of playing time because of a few itchies? Heck, when I got bed bugs I kept traveling through China and Mongolia with no rest! (Yes, now you all know that I’ve had bed bugs. Big deal. Man up, Kyrie.)
As always, if you want to share comments about this blog or anything else we do here at Hotel News Now, drop a comment below, email me at email@example.com or find me on Twitter @HNN_Steph.
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