Who's stars do you trust? (hotel ratings)

Old Feb 23rd, 2004, 03:42 AM
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Who's stars do you trust? (hotel ratings)

I'm curious, who's star ratings for hotels do you trust? I've always had good luck with priceline and I have also had a good experience with AAA.
I was looking for a 3* hotel on hotels.com and cross referenced with tripadvisor and was shocked. I'm afraid to take a chance with their ratings.
Tell me about your experiences
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Old Feb 23rd, 2004, 04:58 AM
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The most consistent and reliable star ratings, and the ones I almost always agree with, are the ones found in the Mobil Travel Guide. AAA is a bit less reliable and over-rates sometimes. Even more so with Priceline which is very hit or miss.
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Old Feb 23rd, 2004, 05:22 AM
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jenifer
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I don't trust any star rating completely. If I am choosing a hotel, I try to find as many personal reviews as possible since they give me more details than only a number of stars.

And, if I'm bidding on priceline then trust isn't relevant - If they say the hotel they've awarded me is 4* and I disagree, it doesn't really matter as I'm obligated to the reservation anyway.
 
Old Feb 23rd, 2004, 07:41 AM
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First off, look at the source of the rating. Priceline is selling you something and allows the hotels to rate themselves. So you'll see that virtually ALL PL ratings are inflated by 1/2-1 star vs. what's realistic.
The biggest flaw with AAA is that the category for 3 stars is far too large. There are good 3's and bad 3's but you can't tell the difference by looking at their system.
This is a problem with most of the 5 grade systems. Not enough distinction between the good and bad within the same category.

Zagat used to be a great alternative because it's easier to specifically categorize a hotel (or restaurant) with a 1-30 scale. Unfortunately Zagat strated to 'water down' their ratings a few years ago and started inflating all the ratings. Still, it's a much better resource than AAA or PL.
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Old Feb 23rd, 2004, 07:47 AM
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If anyone's interested, the following links provide the actual
criteria (sort of their checklists) used by Mobil and AAA to determine their lodging ratings.

For Mobil (This will require that Adobe Acrobat is installed on your PC):
http://www.exxonmobiltravel.com/criteria_hotel.pdf

For AAA: http://www.aaa.com/news12/buttons/diamondsf.html

My experience is that Mobil is tougher, particularly at the high end and stingier in awarding "Four Stars" than AAA is with their "Four Diamonds."

However, in my opinion both are far more realistic and reliable than travel sites like Expedia, various online travel agencies or "transparent booking agents" like PriceLine and Hotwire, both of which seem to rely on the "ouija board" methodology.
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Old Feb 23rd, 2004, 07:55 AM
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I find the ratings tend to refer what the hotel offers, not how good a place is.

For example, it will get more stars/diamonds for offering room service, but the food quality isn't judged.

And the ratings seem to be picky about televisions. If the room has a 35" plasma screen with every cable channel known it will get a better rating than a hotel that offers a view.
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Old Feb 23rd, 2004, 07:57 AM
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If anyone's interested, the following links provide the actual
Mobil and AAA criteria (sort of their checklists) used to determine their lodging ratings.

For Mobil (This will require that you have Adobe Acrobat installed on your PC):
http://www.exxonmobiltravel.com/criteria_hotel.pdf

For AAA: http://www.aaa.com/news12/buttons/diamondsf.html

My experience is that Mobil is tougher, particularly at the high end and generally stingier in awarding "Four Stars" than AAA is with their "Four Diamonds."

However, in my opinion, both are far more realistic and reliable than travel sites like Expedia or "transparent booking agents" like PriceLine and Hotwire, both of which seem to rely on the "ouija board" methodology (or taking a hotel's own assessment as the gospel).
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Old Feb 23rd, 2004, 10:30 AM
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Interesting...I've had good luck with Priceline so far, but wont use Orbitz again because of two bad experiences....

It really is so hard to tell what will meet expectations! Any places other than tripadvisor.com (and here of course) that you suggest to read ratings from other individuals?
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Old Feb 23rd, 2004, 10:42 AM
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Even with tripadvisor, you can't tell if the good reviews are written by the hotel manager, or if the bad reviews were by a disgruntled ex-employee
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Old Feb 23rd, 2004, 11:13 AM
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www.epinions.com also has some reviews

And no, you can never know who wrote a particular review. But, having multiple reviews of the same property helps. If all but one are glowing, it's more likely that one bad review isn't the norm.

Still, there are no guarantees. Sometimes you just have to gather all the info, then trust your gut and go with it. If a hotel is horrid and your reservation is either not pre-paid or is refundable, you can always change after you arrive.
 
Old Feb 23rd, 2004, 11:16 AM
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Marci - I'm very curious and don't quite undertand. Do you mean you won't book a hotel again from Orbitz, or just that you won't trust their hotel * level?

I don't understand why, if you know a hotel is nice, you would refuse to book through Orbitz if they have the best price. Unless, of course, your complaint is with Orbitz itself and not the hotels . . .
 
Old Feb 23rd, 2004, 01:59 PM
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Biddingfortravel.com also has a lot of hotel reviews from those who use its information to bid on Priceline. I've found it to be reliable the few times I've used it.
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