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Highlights from the 2018 Reputation Rankings: Upper Upscale Brands

Over the next several weeks we’re taking a closer look at ReviewPro’s 2018 Hotel Brand Reputation Rankings, our analysis of over 15 million reviews of 32,359 branded hotels in the U.S. and Canada. Today we look at hotel brand rankings in the Upper Upscale brands’ segment. Who are the best and worst performers, and what does it take to climb the rankings? (Check out our previous post about the Luxury Segment.)

Ranking by Global Review Index™ (GRI)

In the upper upscale segment, only Hilton Grand Vacations beats the 90% hurdle for the Global Review Index™, ReviewPro’s industry-standard online reputation score. The gap between the highest-ranking brand and the lowest-ranking brand (Millennium Hotels & Resorts, at 80.5%) is 10.2%, smaller than for the luxury segment. The field is extremely dense in the area between 84% and 90%, with 26 of the 31 Upper Upscale brands falling in this range.

Ranking in second place in this segment is Marriott’s Autograph Collection, at 89.7%, an impressive achievement given that “soft brands” often have a diverse portfolio and less stringent brand standards, which can make consistency challenging. Hilton’s Curio Collection, ranking at #15 (86.2%), and Starwood’s Tribute Portfolio (now part of Marriott), ranking at #27 (84.2%), don’t fare as well. In third and fourth place are two small, independent brands, Silver Cloud Inns & Hotels at 89.2% and Ace Hotel at 88.3%, followed by IHG’s Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants at 88.2%.

The award for most improved brand goes to Hard Rock Hotels, which increased its GRI by 2.7% over the previous year to 87.6%, placing it in #8 in the rankings.

Rankings by Department Index

Upper upscale brands, surprisingly, receive lower value ratings on average than their luxury counterparts, with an overall value rating of 79.9% compared to 83.0% for luxury brands. Ratings in service, room, and cleanliness are also significantly lower than the luxury segment.

Here are the top upper upscale brands:

Service
Silver Cloud Inns & Hotels 91.3%
Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants 91.2%
Ace Hotel 89.5%

Value
Hilton Grand Vacations 85.5%
Silver Cloud Inns & Hotels 84.1%
Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants 83.6%

Rooms
Hilton Grand Vacations 90.0%
Silver Cloud Inns & Hotels 88.4%
Hard Rock Hotels 87.6%

Cleanliness
Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants 94.0%
Silver Cloud Inns & Hotels 93.4%
Hilton Grand Vacations 91.8%

Review Source Indexes

Thanks to almost doubling the number of reviews over the previous period, Google now accounts for 35.8% of all submitted ratings in the upper upscale segment. As we move down the chain scales from luxury to economy, the share of reviews from Booking.com increases compared to other major sources. In the upper upscale segment Booking.com contributes 20.6% of all ratings, as compared to 16.8% for luxury brands. TripAdvisor lost 19% of review volume compared to the previous twelve months, a pattern also evident in other segments.

Management Responses

Hoteliers know that responding to reviews is important in two ways. Firstly, it shows guests that hotels are listening, and secondly, the open responses help to manage the expectations of prospective guests reading the feedback. Upper upscale brands responded to a lower percentage of reviews on average than their luxury peers but to a higher percentage than all lower segments. However, upper upscale brands clearly recognize the need to respond to criticism; the response rate to negative reviews (42.4%) is higher than any other segment. Note that these percentages apply to respondable reviews – reviews that contain written text (vs. ratings only) and allow a management response.

Upper upscale brands responded to 64.5% of TripAdvisor reviews. By comparison, the response rates for the sources with the highest review volume, Google and Booking.com, are significantly lower, at 19% (Google) and 17% (Booking.com). Clearly, TripAdvisor reviews continue to be a top priority.

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