In the ever-evolving world of hospitality, hotels change rooms, renovate and rebrand, and staff members move around. What stays constant, though, are the reviews, and that’s where many travelers turn to get a clear picture of what their hotel experience might be like. And while the calculus for hotel star rankings doesn’t always add up (one reviewer’s three-star property is another’s five-star), a handful of entities have formulated their own rating systems to help travelers understand what they’re paying for when it comes to lodging.
TripAdvisor has long been considered the gold standard for booking, but new research suggests it may be time to consider some of its competitors. A survey from CivicScience found that a number of lesser-known sites actually have better reputations for accuracy than the most well-known brands, including Google, TripAdvisor, and Trivago.
The site with the highest reliability score wasn’t even mentioned in the survey. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing, as it’s a sign that a hotel with a solid reputation across multiple review sites is likely to be trustworthy.
Another important factor to look for is how the hotel responds to negative reviews. When a guest writes about a problem, seeing an apologetic response from management can be a great way to show you care and that you’re dedicated to your guests’ satisfaction.
In addition to a strong online presence on review websites, it’s also helpful to have your hotel listed with the major search engines. A Google listing is free, and once you claim your listing, you can reply to any feedback you receive from customers (though only if you’re the owner of the property). And since Google is the first place many travel shoppers turn when researching locations for their next vacation, it’s worth the effort to keep your hotel listings as up-to-date as possible.
Having a good reputation on these key review and booking sites can mean the difference between someone choosing your hotel or another’s, especially during this time of year when travel is still slow. In fact, some experts recommend booking hotels that have good reviews on all major sites.
The Mercer is a great example of a hotel that does everything right to ensure a smooth stay, Mizrahi says. “Each room feels like a private townhouse-style residence that’s opulent and luxurious at the same time.” And it’s located in Soho, a neighborhood known for its cool vibe and the quintessential Manhattan feel. Guests can enjoy dining at the hotel’s Dowling’s at The Carlyle restaurant, which features New York classics interpreted by chef Sylvain Delpique, or grab a cocktail at Bemelmans Bar, clad in hand-painted wallpaper and details from Turkey’s Topkapi Palace. Rates start at $610 per night.