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Here’s What That 5-Star Hotel Rating Actually Means

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(CNN) – Online user ratings are great, until you discover they’re fake. Or you remember how your uncle always leaves reviews and his taste is terrible.Travelers want a proper set of standards, which generic hotel star ratings seem to offer.

After all, you see, “Five-star hotel” and think, “Must be amazing,” just as you hear “One-star” and realize “It’s gonna be a rough honeymoon.”But what do those ratings actually mean, particularly now that the internet and its many hotel review sites have transformed travel?

We’re here to set you straight... right after we make you way more confused. A shifting standardHotel ratings were created “to help customers work through acceptable and unacceptable choices, then within the acceptable choices get some sort of hierarchy of better and worse,” explains Chekitan Dev of Cornell’s School of Hotel Administration.A great idea, sure.

But the problem was that a number of different hierarchies emerged, with limited overlap. Non-American approaches“In most parts of the world, the system is controlled by the government,” Dev says.These ratings typically do have one thing in common: They’re out of date.“The government ones tend to be stuck in the past,” Dev observes. “They don’t update their criteria.

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