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Major analysis of TripAdvisor reviews reveals 10 year rise in UK accommodation standards


Independent B&Bs leading the charge as UK accommodation sector sees 10 year surge in average ratings on TripAdvisor.

LONDON, UK – The UK hotel and B&B industry is now one of the best-rated in the world having previously lagged behind other major international rivals, an in-depth analysis of a decade’s worth of TripAdvisor review ratings has revealed.

The study, conducted by TripAdvisor, analysed millions of traveller ratings given to hotel and B&B properties on TripAdvisor over the last ten years in 15 major tourism markets around the world.

The study found that in 2015 UK hotels and B&Bs enjoyed an average review rating of 4.16 out of 5, placing them second out of the 15 major tourism markets analysed and above the overall global average of 4.12. Only Italian accommodations scored higher in 2015 with an average of 4.20.

The UK hospitality industry’s strong performance last year was the culmination of a decade-long improvement in average review ratings given to UK properties on TripAdvisor, a trend that outpaced other rival tourism markets around the globe.

In 2005, the average review rating for UK hotels and B&B’s was just 3.57 – the lowest of the 15 markets analysed. However, in the ten years that followed, the UK’s average rating rose above other competitor markets, including Spain, France, United States and Thailand.


Average Accommodation Review Ratings on TripAdvisor - 2005 vs 20151
The study also found that smaller, independent accommodations in the UK were providing the biggest boost to the UK’s overall average rating – with B&Bs scoring an average review rating of 4.48 (out of 5) compared to 4.04 for hotels in 2015.

Even within the hotel sector, smaller properties were shown to have a ratings advantage over larger properties, with UK hotels that accommodate less than 25 rooms scoring an average of 4.40 (out of 5) in 2015 compared to those with 26-100 rooms, where the average is 3.97.

“These figures are excellent news, and show that the UK has moved in 10 years from the lowest-rated country to the second highest, driven by the success of independent accommodation. The innovation and quality of small owner-managed properties have raised standards across Britain's tourism accommodation sector over the decade,” commented David Weston, Chief Executive of the Bed & Breakfast Association, “Guests clearly love the individuality, character, home-cooked breakfasts and personal service that they get in British B&Bs, which is why – in millions of reviews on TripAdvisor - they consistently score higher ratings than hotels.”

Ufi Ibrahim, CEO of the British Hospitality Association (BHA) welcomed the report, saying:  “We are very proud to see the results of the TripAdvisor study and proud too of the standards of service our industry delivers so consistently. UK Hotels and B&Bs can take great satisfaction from seeing their efforts reflected in this report.   Our members welcome visitors from both here in the UK and from across the world and all seek to offer great service and enjoyable guest experiences.”

Additional findings from the Review Ratings study:

  • Business travellers are the most discerning, awarding the lowest average review rating to accommodations compared to other types of global travellers
  • Couples are the most satisfied, giving hotels and B&Bs the highest average review rating amongst all types of travellers
  • The most positive reviewers of UK properties, by nationality, are Americans – awarding an average review rating of 4.21 out of 5
  • Globally, UK reviewers are among the most positive in the world – in 2015, the average review rating given by a UK traveller was 4.19 (out of 5), making them the second most positive reviewers out of the 15 markets analysed

The study’s findings were further supported by a recent statistical analysis of international and domestic travel2, conducted by Oxford Economics on behalf of TripAdvisor, which found that consumer reviews had spurred quality improvements within the accommodation sector and generated £2 billion3 in visitor spending in the UK in 2014 alone.

“We found evidence of a virtuous cycle by which increased travel leads to increased reviews shared on TripAdvisor. Those reviews then help other travellers planning trips and also provides businesses with valuable feedback to improve service and in turn attract more customers, which ultimately has the effect of raising standards across the UK hotel industry,” said Adam Sacks, President of Tourism Economics (Oxford Economics).

The Oxford Economics report – entitled The Global Economic Contribution of TripAdvisor – also concluded that independent properties in the UK received a disproportionate benefit from the additional visitor spending generated by TripAdvisor, because TripAdvisor content gives travellers the confidence to choose a property based on reviews, ratings and photos from other travellers, rather than more traditional decision-making factors such as brand recognition or previous experience. This trend particularly benefits non-branded businesses, enabling small and independent businesses to compete on more of an equal footing with larger, more internationally recognizable brands.

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