Like it or not, there’s no question that rating and review sites significantly influence consumer behavior, especially when it comes to vacation travel. Leisure travelers shopping for a vacation want more than a recommendation from their travel agent, or a standardized hotel ranking. They want the security of knowing that their peers endorse their purchase decision.
More than a decade before Trip Advisor became a household word, Apple Vacations began surveying their returning customers, and using their customer’s feedback to determine its Golden Apple Hotels. The first Golden Apple Award winners were announced in 1990. Taking it a step further, the coveted Crystal Apple Award—the highest rated of the Golden Apple Hotels in various categories—soon became the leisure travel industry’s only “People’s Choice” award.
Hotels that have earned exceptional ratings on Apple’s Vacation Satisfaction Questionnaires, completed by tens of thousands of Apple Vacationers each year, are honored with the Golden Apple. While the numerical Apple rating (1-6+) is determined by Apple’s team of product experts based on the hotel’s level of luxury, services and amenities, exceptionally positive customer ratings are what makes a hotel “go gold.” Some Golden Apple hotels are moderate and others are deluxe, but all Golden Apple Hotels offer an exceptional standard of quality, service and value, as rated by Apple’s customers over a 12 month period.
The Golden Apple designation provides agents and consumers with an honest and reliable rating system that help travelers plan their trips with confidence. Travel agents report that the Golden Apple designation builds consumer confidence and has a major influence on their own recommendations as well as their clients’ purchase decisions. But while Apple ratings provide a benchmark for travelers shopping for the perfect hotel, today’s information-seeking society wants to see detailed reviews about the entire vacation experience. If a hotel doesn’t offer all the amenities required to secure the top ranking, but has unique characteristics that set it apart, those characteristics are likely to make the difference in the customer’s purchase decision. Ensuring complete transparency, Apple Vacations now publishes customer comments from its electronic surveys on the hotel pages of its website, alongside Trip Advisor comments.
In a black-tie gala held at the Art Institute of Chicago on September 14, Apple Vacations honored its 2015 Golden Apple and Crystal Apple Hotels. 191 hotels in Apple’s extensive portfolio of hotels throughout Mexico, the Caribbean, Costa Rica, Panama and the Hawaiian Islands received the Golden Apple award.
The expectations of today’s leisure travelers continue to soar, and Golden Apple Hotels have managed to deliver the perfect combination of quality and service; one which transforms a satisfactory vacation experience into an extraordinary one. Apple Vacations’ Crystal Apple Award recipients continue to raise the standards of the leisure travel industry. Apple Vacations was the first, and remains the only tour operator to rate hotels based solely on the opinions of its customers.
2015 Crystal Apple Award Winners
BEST ALL INCLUSIVE RESORT
IBEROSTAR Grand Hotel Paraiso- Riviera Maya
BEST ALL INCLUSIVE FAMILY RESORT
Luxury Bahía Principe Akumal, Don Pablo Collection - Riviera Maya
BEST STAFF & SERVICE MEXICO
Secrets The Vine Cancun
BEST STAFF & SERVICE CARIBBEAN
IBEROSTAR Grand Hotel Bavaro - Punta Cana
BEST STAFF & SERVICE CENTRAL AMERICA
Riu Palace Costa Rica
BEST STAFF & SERVICE -HAWAIIAN ISLANDS
The Westin Maui Resort & Spa
BEST HOTEL CHAIN
Secrets Resorts & Spas
Call Apple Vacations Reservations at 1-800-800-0202. To book online and for valuable sales tools and Royalties Rewards, go to www.travelagentcafe.com