UK travellers are forgoing the traditional star ratings system for independent online reviews when booking accommodation, a new survey suggests.


Architectural design firm Woods Bagot, which carried out the survey, claims UK travellers are fed up with “star inflation”, where accommodation providers over-rate their properties.


Two thirds (65 per cent) of respondents aged 35 to 54 said they were more likely to consult online independent reviews than a hotel’s star rating. In Scotland over half of respondents (54 per cent) said they would use online reviews compared to just under half (49 per cent) who would consult star ratings.


Woods Bagot’s principal designer Rob Steul said: “What this seems to suggest is that travellers with more experience have recognised the massive inconsistencies in the star rating system across Europe and the world.


“Once you’ve stayed at a hotel that is both inferior and more expensive than a previous hotel at the same rating, you lose faith in the rating’s ability to assure quality.”


Steul added that the advent of seven star hotels was “a dangerous precedent” that added to customer confusion and disillusionment with the star system.


“The real issue is ‘star inflation’,” he said. “Hotels and, sometimes even countries, hype their own self-proclaimed star ratings.” 


Woods Bagot surveyed 5,000 consumers in the poll.