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Highlights From the 2018 Reputation Rankings: Economy Brands

Economy hotels tend to be smaller properties with limited services, basic accommodations and no frills. Travelers who select economy hotels are on a limited budget and expect value, efficiency and cleanliness. How well do economy brands deliver on these expectations?

In this sixth and final installment of our segment analysis series from ReviewPro’s 2018 Hotel Brand Reputation Rankings, we look at the Economy segment. Drawing from over 15 million reviews of 32,359 branded hotels in the U.S. and Canada, the report identifies the best and worst performers and trends related to brand reputation.

Check out our previous posts about the Midscale, Upper MidscaleUpscaleUpper Upscale and Luxury segments.

Ranking by Global Review Index™ (GRI)

The top two rankings in the economy segment in the U.S. and Canada are occupied by Pear Tree Inn (GRI 88.8%) and Affordable Suites of America (GRI 87.4%), which outperform their peers in terms of online reputation by a wide margin. In fact, these are the only brands in the segment that achieve GRI scores above 80% – and they even come close to 90%. In third place is SureStay Hotel, at GRI 78.7%, an improvement of 2.7 points over last year. Most brands in the economy segment show GRI scores of between 71% and 65%, with a few outliers above and below this range.

Large hotel on backdrop of blue sky and mountains, Grand America Hotels & Resorts economy brand segment

Rankings by Department Index

When ranked by service, value, room and cleanliness ratings, brands in the economy segment show significant variances over last year, both positive and negative. Logically, value indexes should be higher in the economy segment than in other segments up the chain scale. However, the results are quite diverse, with four brands achieving value rating indexes of 85% or above and five brands scoring below 70%. Interestingly, smaller brands tend to receive better value ratings than their larger peers.

Brand rankings by service index show the greatest similarities with the ranking by overall online reputation, indicating the importance of service to overall guest satisfaction in this segment.

Here are the top economy brands:

Service
Pear Tree Inn 91.5%
Red Carpet Inn 86.2%
Scottish Inns 85.2%

Value
WoodSpring Suites 91.7%
Budget Host 90.3%
Pear Tree Inn 89.7%

Rooms
WoodSpring Suites 91.0%
Suburban Extended Stay Hotel 90.4%
Pear Tree Inn 89.2%

Cleanliness
Budget Host 93.4%
Pear Tree Inn 91.2%
WoodSpring Suites 89.2%

Review Source Indexes

Amazingly, Booking.com contributed almost 40% of all reviews submitted for economy brands in the date period between 2017 and 2018. This is the highest share of any source across all chain scales and sources. However, Booking.com’s 40% increase in review volume was dwarfed by Google’s massive 150% growth. Google now represents 24.6% of the review market, followed by Hotels.com with 14.2%.

Economy brands are the only chain scale in which TripAdvisor is not among the top three sources in terms of review volume. While TripAdvisor saw the number of its review decrease by 13.2%, Expedia’s volume grew by an impressive 39%, now accounting for 6.1% of all reviews. The emergence of Booking.com and Google as top review sources has important implications for measuring online reputation scores because the ratings from these sources tend to be higher. A key reason for this growth in volume is that Google and Booking.com allow ratings-only reviews, whereas TripAdvisor requires text commentary in addition to ratings.

hotel room with two double beds part of the economy brand segment

Management Responses

Responding to reviews does not appear to be as high a priority for economy brands as for other segments. Only 26.4% of reviews received a response during the twelve-month period of the report, compared with an overall average of 35.6%. Negative reviews had an even lower response rate of 24.1%. In a separate study, ReviewPro found that economy hotels have a slow review response time of 13.2 days on average.

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