UltimateHotels.com utilizes a proprietary methodology to pick the ‘Top 40 Hotels | 2016’ award winners. Our methodology consists of a series of six distinct phases that include both quantitative research analysis and editorial review.
Step #1 Hotel Identification
Our research team’s first job is to identify the full set of available hotel options in any given city. We identify available hotel options by using a meta-analysis of available hotels from a minimum of five major OTA and booking sites (e.g. Booking.com, Kayak.com, TripAdvisor, Expedia, etc.).
For example, in 2016 the Hotel Identification phase for New York City yielded 581 available hotel options.
Step #2 Mapping
The next step is to use a customized Google Maps application to plot available hotel options relative to a grid that identifies areas of the city where the majority of popular tourist, cultural, dining and shopping options are located. The goal is to ensure the hotels are ‘centrally-located’ and within a reasonable distance from the most popular parts of the city.
For example, in 2016 the Mapping phase for New York City yielded 317 centrally located hotel options.
Step #3 Elimination
Our editors then review each property remaining and eliminate those accommodations that are hostels, small inns, Bed & Breakfasts, short-term rentals, membership-based hotels and properties that cater primarily to groups or convention guests.
For example, in 2016 the Elimination phase for New York City yielded 247 qualified hotels.
Step #4 Meta-Rating Analysis
For the next step in the process our researchers begin crunching review scores for each of the remaining hotels across 5+1 top-tier booking and review sites. For each individual hotel, our researchers identify the current rating from sites like Booking.com, Expedia, Hotels.com, Kayak, Trivago, etc. Any rating with less than 25 reviews is not considered.
We then consult TripAdvisor as an additional reference to ensure the widest survey of rating scores by travelers. After the numbers are aggregated the hotels are then stacked ranked based upon total aggregated review score.
Once the hotels are stacked ranked based upon combined review scores, the hotels in the bottom 50% are eliminated.
For example, in 2016 the Meta-analysis phase for New York City yielded 123 top-rated hotels.
Step #5 Editorial Review
During the next step our editors conduct an individual review of each property. This consists of a full read of the hotel’s official website, review of official and traveler photographs, examination of recent press and media coverage, review of recent verified reviews across several OTA sites and a survey of the hotel’s location relative to popular attractions and nightlife. Hotels are given a score of 1-5 on each element and then stacked ranked. Hotels in the bottom 33% are eliminated.
For example, in 2016 the Editorial Review phase for New York yielded 81 hotels for final consideration.
Step #6 Final Top 40 Selection
For the final step of selecting the ‘Top 40 Hotels’ award winners our editors painstakingly review each of the remaining hotels and carefully select the optimum mix of forty best-of-the-best hotels that represent a diverse range of hotel styles, neighborhoods and price points.
With the goal of providing travelers a short list of top-rated, centrally-located and unique hotels, our editors make their final selection of the ‘Top 40 Hotels | 2016’ award winners.