Average Scores Integration in Official Star Rating Scheme
Mellinas, Juan Pedro
Purpose: Evidence suggests that electronic word-of-mouth (eWOM) plays a highly influential role in decision-making when booking hotel rooms. The number of online sources where consumers can obtain information on hotel ratings provided has grown exponentially. Hence, a number of companies have developed average scores to summarize this information and to make it more easily available to consumers. Furthermore, official star rating schemes are starting to provide these commercially developed average scores to complement the information their schemes offer. The purpose of this paper is to examine the robustness of these systems. Design/methodology/approach: Average scores from different systems, and the scores provided by one rating site were collected for 200 hotels and compared. Findings: Findings suggested important differences in the ratings and assigned descriptive word across websites. Research limitations/implications: The results imply that the application of average scores by official organizations is not legitimate and identifies a research gap in the area of consumer and star rating standardization. Originality/value: The paper is of value to the industry and academia related to the examination of rating scales adopted by major online review tourism providers. Evidence of malpractice has been identified and the adoption of this type of scales by official star rating schemes is questioned.