The topic of star ratings divides industry opinion


Your reputation comes under close scrutiny at every stage of a guest’s experience, including before they even arrive at your hotel. But does a star rating affect their booking decision any more or has it lost its resonance among consumers?

Paul Brackley
Managing director, The Beaumont, London, part of Preferred Hotels & Resorts Legend Collection

I think a hotel star rating is still taken into account as part of a decision making process, along with other measures including review of social media and sites such as TripAdvisor. Ratings can be a factor when deciding to stay at a more luxurious property when a guest might be paying a significant amount of money for the experience. It is a recognised quality check / stamp of approval that might be reassuring, especially if a hotel is independent, or not part of a known brand.

Gurval Durand
General manager, Whatley Manor

Yes, star rating is a key factor but no longer on its own. Other platforms like TripAdvisor now influence the guest’s decision. The star defines the quality of a hotel, its standards, services and likely cost, however TripAdvisor tells the story behind the guest experience, which is equally important. A five-star hotel with poor reviews could feel a massive financial impact and vice versa. Whether a hotel is part of a group or privately owned it needs a recognised and trusted system for guests. TripAdvisor re-enforces the emotion and the star rating seals the quality and standards.

Story continues below

James Rush
Chairman of Liverpool Hoteliers Association & GM at Malmaison Liverpool

The short answer is yes. Though with such strong individual brand awareness and increased online customer reviews and engagement, it can often play a lesser role within certain market segments. This is even more true when matched with on-going trends such as one in five leisure bookers using mobile phones only, not tablet or PC. That said, with a well-structured tourism marketing organisation and visitor economy that work with the Liverpool Hoteliers Association (LHA), which gives direction in relation to a joined up structured approach for high standards across the city and region – and that is where star ratings can add great value for both individual bookers (business and leisure), though also for winning of key events, conventions and conferences. Horses for courses – star ratings will always have their important place.

Conor O’Donovan
Chief executive, Sefton Park Hotel

Star-ratings are important in terms of determining the quality of a hotel, but I think that these days, they’re a little dated. With access to the internet, it’s so easy for hotel guests to leave more personalised and in-depth reviews on sites such as TripAdvisor, or on our website and Facebook and Twitter pages. These are often one of the main factors people look at when deciding between hotels in a certain location. Small factors can mean that no matter how good a hotel is, it can’t reach past a certain rating, so sometimes it doesn’t reflect the true standard of the hotel.

Carrie Wicks
Operations director, Firmdale

I don’t think so anymore and thank goodness those days are gone to some extent. TripAdvisor does so much now and taken all that out of it; I mean, the guides and recommended books that are produced still have their place and they are lovely things to have, but things are changing now and people just don’t take as much notice.

Tiina Carr,
Director, Brocco on the Park, Sheffield

We find that the quality of our website, our images, ease of booking directly and word of mouth recommendations are the key reasons guests book with us. More and more awarding/quality bodies have their own rating system now too, which means that a single quality system doesn’t have as much sway any more.