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. 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.”
— Olivier Grémillon, Vice President of Global Segments, during a panel talk
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.
Booking.com 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.
Some managers attending the event welcomed the move.
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