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Michelin Ratings Vs. Online Reviews

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Michelin has debuted its first ratings for hotels. But when a tech firm crunched the numbers from traveler reviews across 140 sites, it found that crowd favorites clashed with Michelin’s picks.

Michelin began rating hotels this month, starting with 189 properties in France. Yet many of the hotels that received coveted Michelin “keys” didn’t overlap with the list of best-rated hotels at online review sites. What gives?

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Shiji ReviewPro published a report Wednesday comparing Michelin’s ratings for Parisian hotels versus those hotels’ average scores on travel review sites. The tech vendor analyzed online reviews on over 140 online travel agencies and review sites, such as Booking.com and Tripadvisor, in more than 45 languages.

Michelin’s most favorite Parisian hotels

Here’s a list of the nine Parisian hotels that Michelin gave top honors to by bestowing “three keys” each.

Michelin gave a handful of other Parisian hotels one-key and two-key recognitions.

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Crowd favorites for Paris hotels

Compare the above list of Michelin’s top three-key picks with a list of the nine Parisian hotels that online reviewers worldwide liked the most below. Note: different sites use different scoring systems, so ReviewPro made scores comparable by blending them through a proprietary index.

How Michelin judges hotels

Some backstory may help explain the discrepancy. Michelin has long awarded “star” ratings to outstanding restaurants. In April, it announced “key” ratings for a slice of hotels out of about 5,000 that had been long-listed for consideration.

To be awarded Michelin keys, properties must be judged best in a handful of categories: “excellence in architecture and interior design, quality and consistency of service, overall personality and character, value for the price, and a significant contribution to the neighborhood or setting.”

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Exhibit A: Michelin awarded the Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris, a 3-key rating, its top category. Yet online reviewers praised 14 other hotels in Paris more highly.

“The Michelin Keys Guide provides an evaluation of hotel offerings that’s complementary to online reviews,” said Bruno Saragat, an analyst at Shiji ReviewPro. “An expert evaluation focuses attention on details that aren’t usually part of the guests’ feedback, such as ‘excellence in architecture and interior’ design or ‘significant contribution to the neighborhood.’”

The advantages of online reviews

Online reviewers’ favorite Paris hotels were Hotel Astra Opera – Astote, Hotel Signature Saint Germain des Près, and Hotel de Londres Eiffel, but none of these were awarded Michelin keys. Does that discrepancy matter?

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On the other hand, the average number of reviews for the best 50 hotels in Paris was 461. That’s a reminder that online reviews can be more nuanced and detailed than any individual judge because they provide a variety of viewpoints.

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