If online traveler reviews are any indication, guests of luxury five-star hotels are no more satisfied with their accommodations experience than are travelers who stay at moderate, two-star accommodations, at least according to a new study by PhoCusWright research.
PhoCusWright's Social Travel Advocacy Index (STAI), an index of traveler sentiment based on online traveler reviews, shows that the average STAI for the luxury five-star hotel category for 2008 was eight, significantly below the two-star hotel category, which scored a 13. The STAI for the five-star category jumped significantly in 2009, when both hotel star categories scored a 15, PhoCusWright says.
"Are luxury hotel properties delivering a lower quality of service to their guests than two-star hotels? Of course not, but guests of five-star hotels have very different expectations than those of two-star accommodations," says Douglas Quinby, senior director, research at PhoCusWright. "This is a perfect example of the classic value equation playing itself out. When price rises with service quality, the perceived value and satisfaction does not necessarily also rise. Guests who are paying that much more also expect a lot more, and are more likely to express their disappointment when their expectations are not met."
PhoCusWright partnered with Brand Karma by Circos, the social media intelligence and analytics firm, and Travelport to develop STAI. PhoCusWright STAI represents aggregate sentiment analysis for nearly 1.9 million reviews for 27,000 U.S. hotel properties of 65 major hotel brands. The reviews are compiled from nearly 50 social travel websites, including the major traveler review sites and online travel agencies.
A new report, PhoCusWright's Social Media in Travel: Reviews & Sentiment, presents in-depth analysis of online traveler reviews, including STAI and buzz (volume of reviews per hotel brand). The study uncovers significant variation in traveler review volume and sentimentacross hotel star rating categories and even different types of travel websites (traveler review sites vs. online travel agencies).