What Stratifyd’s Review Analytics on Hilton vs. Marriott

Review analytics in the hospitality Industry

What Stratifyd’s Review Analytics Can Tell Booking.com About Reviews on Hilton vs. Marriott

Hotels live or die by online reviews and star ratings.  Marriott and Hilton have spent decades building their brands, but without proactive reputation management, their prestige can falter.  Consistently delivering superior guest experiences is critical to driving revenue growth considering that 93% of guests rely on reviews to determine where they will stay.  According to a study conducted by the Cornell University Center for Hospitality Research, improving guest satisfaction can significantly increase the revenue per available room (RevPAR).   Customers are 3.9 times more likely to choose a hotel with higher ratings given equal prices, and most customers are even willing to pay a higher price for the hotel with the higher ratings. Given that Marriott and Hilton compete for the same customer profile globally, this competitive advantage is the most valuable to their enterprises.


Review analytics for the hotel Industry

Stratifyd analyzed over 222,000 reviews for Hilton and 174,000 reviews for Marriott from Booking.com to discover insights about the two industry giants.  Structured data portrays the two hotel enterprises as if they are twins:


  • Both have average ratings above 8.3 out of 10

  • Customer sentiment is mostly positive (+2 on a scale of -4 to +4) for both hotels

  • Topic clusters and top bigrams are near identical


Where the two differ is beneath the surface - at individual hotels within their chains and specific guest services.  Marriott’s most negatively reviewed hotels are its Courtyard, SpringHill Suites, Fairfield Inn, and Residence Inn brands.  Hilton’s subsidiary brands are not as heavily represented when filtering for negative review sentiment. Hilton’s most positively rated hotels vary in location, with three of the top ten in exotic locations, and several at major airport hubs.  In contrast, 38% of Marriott’s most positively rated hotels are located in South Florida and Disney World, which may suggest that guests prefer Marriott for more affordable family vacations.    


We applied a taxonomy to sort reviews by main content to reveal subtle differences in customer profiles between Marriott and Hilton guests.  Marriott guests are significantly more influenced by hotel location and price compared to all other rating drivers, as these two drivers are the most positively correlated with overall rating.  It is odd that 31% of Marriott reviews speak to services when that value driver is not very influential on guest ratings.  This inconsistency might be due to the majority of Marriott guests wanting to efficiently check-in, sleep, and leave rather than explore the amenities. This conclusion is supported by hotel price driving ratings more for Marriott guests.. The fact that Marriott guests are significantly less influenced by other value drivers suggests that they probably spend less time at the hotel compared to guests staying at Hilton hotels.  


Analytics for travel apps and review sites

Hilton guests are influenced almost evenly across all value drivers – wifi, location, services, staff, price, cleanliness, and comfort – as these drivers all have highly positive, linear relationships with overall rating and sentiment scores.  Hilton guests value wifi availability significantly more than Marriott guests, which suggests that Hilton’s customers must be staying at their hotels long enough for internet connectivity to matter.  Given the differences in value driver influence and a concentration of hotels at airports, it is plausible to conclude that Hilton’s guests are generally not on vacation and are more likely to be on a business trip or attending a conference, where staff, services, wifi, cleanliness, and comfort all take precedent over location and price, especially if a corporation is paying their expenses.     


The shifting landscape of customer profiles for Marriott and Hilton offer opportunities for both enterprises.  With Stratifyd, the two hotel enterprises can better represent themselves to their target markets, manage their online reputations more effectively, and determine where to focus their efforts to expand or make up for lost ground.

Nathan Breidenbach