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View of Booking.com’s new categorization system (red ellipse) “Search by star rating is the most used filter on Booking.com“, Explained Olivier Grémillon, Vice President of Global Segments. “Previously, when someone searched on Booking.com for three, four or five star accommodation units, holiday homes would not be displayed. Now, when they search using the same filter, they are displayed and everyone benefits from it.” Jeff Hurst, chief salesman at Expedition-owned Vrbo, finds it difficult to be precise when determining stars. “Personally, I often knew how to stay in a four-star hotel without my experience being up to standard.” Source / photo: Skift; Booking.com The new grading system was first unveiled during a presentation at this week’s conference of the Holiday Accommodation Management Association in New Orleans, USA. But several property managers disagree with the ratings given by Booking.com to their facilities. For example, a few said they would have preferred the agency to give them a lower grade. They would rather keep the user’s expectations a bit lower because they could pleasantly surprise the guest and thus are more likely to leave a review with a better rating. Some feel that user reviews have a greater impact on potential guests. Booking.com’s move is quite bold because the agency arbitrarily determines ratings. Holiday homes and apartments are no longer aligned with hotels, which have long been categorized by government organizations and third parties according to the number of stars. The number of stars is separate, ie there is no correlation with the average accommodation result determined by user reviews. Olivier Grémillon, whose job involves overseeing rental units within Booking.com, said guests on average give better ratings to holiday homes or apartments than hotels. This new system of the company will provide an additional reference point that will help users in comparing real estate, Grémillon believes. Others have complained that this process will confuse many users because, for example, Airbnb displays user review ratings in asterisk form. Booking.com rates real estate including about 400 different factors. For example, an apartment that has an espresso machine is more likely to get a fifth star more easily. Some experts supported Booking.com’s move. “I find it important not only to have user review ratings, but also official categorizations to better determine user expectations. For example, there may be a two-star accommodation that has impeccable user ratings, but the mere fact that the property has only two stars would certainly help put the review rating in a different context.”, Said Steve Milo, founder and CEO of Vtrips. Earlier this month, Booking.com began applying star ratings to its short-term rental offerings. An online travel agency ranks properties from one to five stars – where a five-star rating indicates the most attractive accommodation, reports Shift. The company strives to adjust the calculations to make them as relevant as possible. For example, an accommodation facility in cold Copenhagen will not have a worse rating due to the lack of air conditioning, unlike some holiday homes in the tropics.