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Trends and statistics of hotel ratings and reviews

Archive for September 2008

Hotel Star Ratings –A reliable method to rate hotels or a source of confusion and frustration?

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The primary way in which travelers determine the quality, service and price range of a hotel is the hotel star rating or diamond rating system.

Yet if I were to ask most people the difference between a four star hotel vs. a three star hotel I’d get an answer like”a four star is nicer and probably costs more”. If I pressed a little harder I might get an answer like a four star has room service or a gym or perhaps conference facilities. Even worse if I reverse the logic and say do three star hotels not have room service or do all four stars have room service most people wouldn’t know.

Mobile and AAA popularized the ratings system in N. America but I can’t blame for ALL of the confusion. The sheer number of variables that can impact a hotel one way or another is daunting. No one wants to read a document describing the quality of the hangers in the closet, or the attire of the front desk staff. So both companies have a long criterion they use as an instrument to ultimately reflect a single rating. The end result is a ratings system built by experts which aims to reflect everything I might care about in a hotel but is inherently flawed.

The problem with experts evaluating things for consumers is that there are too few expert reviews and it is still very subjective. For example, this consultant states that AAA will rate a room with a wall mounted plasma screen LOWER than a room with an out-of-date 25 inch tube sitting in a space infringing armoire! No thanks, I’ll take the plasma and the extra square footage.

Yet, experts aren’t all bad either. The online travel agents seemed to decide that because the hotel ratings system was open to interpretation they would just inflate the ratings from time to time. After all who wouldn’t be lured by the notion of a great hotel at a cheap price? Like all scams they work in the short term but infuriate people in the long term and ultimately ruin the reputation of the business.

Once I look at ratings outside of the U.S. it becomes even a bigger free for all. My favorite example is the hotel Burj Al Arab who decided that they are a 7 star hotel. I am sure it is one of the nicest hotels in the world but is building a new category for your facility the answer. I am sure Donald Trump can’t wait to build a 50 star. Maybe we can move past numbers and go with words like Life Star or try the opposite to attract Star Wars fans with Death Star.

The internet is fixing this problem one review and one traveler at a time. I trust that if 227 people visit the Burj Al Arab and say it is unbelievable and many of them they have stayed at leading hotels around the world I’ll likely believe them.

Maybe the internet will enable the creation standard hotel ratings created by the guest for the guest. Until then I am reading reviews to make sure I get the room with the plasma.

Written by Philip

September 27, 2008 at 1:59 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with , ,

Hello World!

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Welcome to Raveable.com a new travel site. Why does Raveable exist?

This simple question has a multi-part answer. For now I’ll limit it to my personal reasons for why I decided to leave Microsoft and take the entrepreneurial leap.

Why did I ultimately decide to start my own company?

  1. Developing my skills as an entrepreneur felt important: For as long as I can remember I have always wanted to start my own business.  I also think the world is changing in favor of the entrepreneur. Companies will rise and fall faster and more frequently. Employees will move around more. Those whom have developed the skills to start and build a company will be more likely to benefit in the new world.
  2. Big Challenges: I am happiest when I have a big new challenge that keeps me up at night and occupies my mind.
  3. Competition: The free-market is the most competitive “sport” there is. If you succeed at this game you have succeed amongst the elite. I LOVE to compete and constantly want to up the ante.   The corporate world shields you from this more than most realize.
  4. Risk/Reward: I love how free-markets punish failed companies without remorse (with the exception of the government bailouts as of late :) ) and reward success with both fame and fortune. It became clear to me starting a company is the only way to get the right effort/reward and risk/reward balance.
  5. Clear problems: I like working on clear problems where the solution can be measured by the usefulness to end customers. Startups must solve a real problem in order to get off the ground and execute well to survive.
  6. Growth: For me starting a business was the best way to always be in the driver seat of ensuring I get smarter, personally stronger and stay adaptable.
  7. Birds of a feather: I love surrounding myself with others who are consumed by what they are working on, people who are facing their fears and pursuing their dreams. I believe people working at a start-up most reflect these qualities.  
  8. Facing my fears: Leaving behind a well paying job at a top company with lots of advancement opportunities (thank you Microsoft) is not easy. However, I realized the riskiest decision I could ever make (especially in the tech industry) was to not take big calculated risks.  How many people really want to do something but don’t because of the fear of failure.
  9. Passion: I  have a lot of personal passion for what we will be working on.
I am sure I am missing something and every good list should have 5 or 10 items but I’d rather be authentic than convenient.

I’d be curious to know if anyone is measuring the number of people leaving the big tech companies to start their own businesses. Through my highly biased lens it seems a higher number of people are going out on their own especially considering the current economic conditions. Has anyone built a list of people leaving Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Yahoo, Apple etc.. to start their own companies? Might be interesting to follow and track.

 

For the next post I’ll tell you why the world desperately needs a better way to help you find the right hotel.

 

Written by Philip

September 19, 2008 at 9:33 pm

Posted in startup

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