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  • Writer's picturePerch

To stay, or not to stay?

Indeed that is the question- No one would classify me as a connoisseur of classic literature, but I do believe that’s a direct quote from Mr Shakespeare. The Bard may not have needed to book an Airbnb or figure out where to lodge during a Midsummer’s getaway to the greater Los Angeles area, but I’m certain he would have had a few things to say about our current model for hotel rankings.

Our modest question stems from the numerous questions that arise when considering the complexity and inconsistency of our current system. These include, why have we selected five stars, instead of say a minimalist three or an ambitious ten? Why an odd number instead of an even number of stars? Why stars, when there are so many other fine shapes out there?

However, most importantly, we must consider - Why is a four-star rating interpreted so differently across the hospitality industry? Four-stars for a hotel is appreciated, but it’s seen as a scarlet letter, er number, within the Airbnb space.

Maybe the problem is that it is too open to interpretation; what equals four stars to me may not resonate with you. Or perhaps it falls victim to decision overload. We humans make decisions all day, with many of them leading to an immediate outcome, even if it’s as simple as what to order for lunch. The rating of a hotel is of no real consequence to us, unless of course we are furiously assigning a one-star rating in attempt to right a wrong that was dealt to us during our recent stay.

It should be noted that this is not a concern in other areas of life such as transportation services through Uber or Lyft. This could be due to the fact that there is a much more narrow (and younger) demographic. All riders have essentially agreed that their driver receives five stars unless they literally try to murder them during the ride. Do you think doling out five stars would be just as simple with your uncle - you know the one I’m talking about - frequently riding Uber?

Finally, there is also the matter of sniffing out “paid” ratings. On one hand, the process has always been questionable about how high-end hotels get featured in magazines. After all, most of the those Top Docs or Best CEOs found their way into said rankings for reasons due to their green approach (and that’s not alluding to being environmentally friendly). The rise of social media influencers and their quid pro quo coziness with the hotel industry should also cause you to second guess that five star rating.

So if you agree that we can and must create a more reasonable and equitable hotel system, let us bravely forge ahead.

The question that really matters is this, would you stay there again, or not? It’s simple- that is at the heart of what we are deciding before we confirm our booking, and you make the decision on a future stay in the moments after checking out.

Forget the stars and deciding between a four or a five; let simplicity rule. How nice, and painless, would it be to just look up a hotel and see that 98% of seemingly other reasonable people would stay there again- “Hey honey, I like those odds!”

This yes/no system will still allow for some commentary. In fact, you will not be allowed to submit your vote without adding a short snippet justifying your judgment. We’re not expecting a novel - you’re likely not Shakespeare - but a 10 to 15 word requirement is enough to serve as a proof point for your gripes and allow the average bystander to pass judgment on your reasonability.

There were still be able to be differentiation between hotels through the review of the commentary. Hotel pages can still include a listing of amenities and other critical information pertinent for your stay. One would think that the most savvy hotels would use that aforementioned methods of advertising and also link out to the pages of various influencers whom stayed onsite.

To encourage any of these guests that are hesitant about completing the check-out survey, hotels could offer a small discount, perhaps even as high as 3%. Would hotels be onboard with this approach? Probably. Especially when you consider that most clothing stores mark-up prices so that their discounted prices seem more attractive. When it comes to business travel, employers would have some sway over having their staff complete the surveys in order to mitigate expenses.

With five stars, we can feel obligated to ponder a lifetime of hotel stays pinning that one nightmare at one star and that perfect one-time experience at five stars. “I really enjoyed this stay, but it wasn’t my favorite stay ever!” Of course it wasn’t, that was your honeymoon in a beautiful, tropical resort in which you were in a euphoric state of mind. So how does this, otherwise satisfactory, Marriott in Omaha for a January work trip stand a chance?

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