's New Star Ratings for Short-Term Rentals Shake Sector

October 16, 2019


"If you believe internet ratings, you’d think everything sold online is above average. appears to be trying to combat that problem in the short-term rentals sector by rolling out a rating system. The company risks upsetting some property managers by acting as self-appointed judge and jury of unit quality. But some travelers may like the additional context.  Sean O'Neill earlier this month began applying star ratings to its listings of short-term rentals. The online powerhouse is ranking properties on a one to five-star scale — where a five-star rating signals that a property has the most overall appeal.

Booking’s move is bold because the travel agency giant is rating the properties itself. Until now, rentals have gone unrated. That’s put vacation homes and apartments out of sync with hotels, which third-parties and governmental organizations have long categorized by star ratings. The star ratings are separate from a property’s average score, which continues to be driven by customer reviews.

“Star search is the most-used filter we have on Booking,” said Olivier Grémillon, vice president of global segments, during a panel talk. “Before, when someone was searching on Booking for three-, four- or five-star, no vacation rentals were showing up. Now when they search, the vacation rentals are showing up, the conversions are going up, and everybody benefits.”


The company strives to adjust the calculations to be relevant. A case in point: A property in a cold climate like Copenhagen isn’t going to be dinged for lacking central air conditioning the way a property in the tropics would. rates rentals on about 400 factors. For example, a property is a bit more likely to get a five-star rating if it has an espresso machine." Read more...


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