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Trends Do 5 star hotels always get better online reviews than 3 star hotels?

photo of the author Gregg Blanchard

A 4 or 5 star property on paper is clearly superior to a 3 star in terms of service and amenities, but how does that translate to the reviews people leave for these hotels on sites like Yelp? Guests certainly enter each experience with different expectations, but what do the numbers say? Here’s what we found.

The Goods
To find our answer we looked at 15,000 U.S. hotels that each had at least 10 reviews on Yelp. We grouped the hotels by their star rating (X axis) and found the average Yelp review rating (Y axis) for each group.


Between 2.5 and 3.5 stars, the average customer rating sits right at 3.50 with a difference of just 0.09 points between the three levels. Above that point the average rating rises to 3.76 for 4 star hotels, 3.95 for 4.5 star hotels, and 4.20 for 5 star hotels.

What This Means
A 5 star hotel can hardly be mentioned in the same conversations with a 2.5 star hotel in terms of what a guest is paying for and how much they pay, but the difference in review rating is just 0.74 between these groups.

It’s a simple reminder that all hotels have the opportunity to provide a great experience and that these experiences are driven just as much by guest expectations as they are by the actual service level they receive.

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