We’re picky, we’re opinionated, and apparently, travelers from Massachusetts are grumpier than vacationers from most other states.
No, these findings didn’t come from a hotel concierge in Los Angeles who was fed up with brusque guests wearing Red Sox caps complaining that they couldn’t find a strawberry Fribble on Sepulveda Boulevard. This is what the number crunchers at RewardExpert found when they started breaking down hotel reviews on Trip Advisor. They looked at 4,333 hotel ratings left by 878,561 travelers from all 50 states. It seems that people from Massachusetts are not particularly easygoing when it comes to their accommodations.
In the report, “Which US States are home to the grumpiest and happiest travelers?,” Massachusetts lodgers were ranked seventh crankiest in the country. We’re even grumpier than travelers from New York. The ranking comes from the number of one- and two-star ratings proportional to the population, plus a few other calculations on the grump-o-meter.
“Massachusetts ranked second in the number of one- and two-star reviews over and above the number expected by population (a whopping 1,362 grumpy reviews, as opposed to the 742 expected),” the report said.
Does leaving one or two-star review make the residents of Massachusetts grumpy, or simply discerning?
“When I’m paying $300 a night, I have expectations of what a room should be,” said Linda Chen of Somerville. “I base my reviews off of that. So yes, I’ve left a few low ratings on TripAdvisor.”
Coincidentally, Ed Ramirez of East Boston also hands out one- and two-star reviews like they’re candy on Halloween. He travels frequently for work and has a refined lodging palate.
“I once found someone else’s socks under the bed at a hotel,” Ramirez said, nearly retching at the memory of the finding. “I definitely gave that place one star.”
There were a surprising number of people I interviewed who were loose with the low hotel scores. They all seemed certain that they were in the right.
This is the part of the story when I come clean and admit that I’ve also left a disproportionate number of low hotel scores. But I’m not being grumpy. I’m trying to help fellow travelers avoid making mistakes.
I left a one-star review for the Cavendish Hotel in London because bone-rattling construction began every morning at 7 in an adjacent lot. I could have left a review that said “The hotel had a superb wake-up service, ensuring I had an early start every day.” That kind of frosting on the cupcake may help remove the Massachusetts grumpy stigma.
Or maybe when I spent two hours at the Salisbury Hotel in New York trying to get functioning Wi-Fi, I should have written “The Salisbury offered an ideal escape and allowed me to unplug.” I left a one-star review not only because I was unable to get functioning Wi-Fi, but because the hotel had the nerve to charge me for it.
I couldn’t think of anything positive to say about my stay at the Midtown Hotel in the Back Bay. I felt as if I was sleeping on a mattress marinated in stale blue cheese and mothballs. There was no way to put lipstick on that pig, so I left another one-star review.
Are these the words of a grumpy man? Yes. But they’re also the words of a good samaritan and a semi-sophisticated traveler.
There are six other states with crankier travelers than Massachusetts. They are Washington D.C., Colorado, Oregon, California, Arizona, and Nevada.
While the crotchety population of Massachusetts was busy complaining about hotels on TripAdvisor, our friends in New Hampshire were giving hotels high ratings, which, according to the study, puts them third on the list of happy travelers. Unlike Massachusetts, travelers from New Hampshire are less inclined to leave one- and two-star ratings. The only states happier than New Hampshire were Louisiana and Mississippi.
How does this match up against other studies that have rated the happiness of Massachusetts denizens? A 2017 study from Wallet Hub ranked Massachusetts as the 19th happiest state in the country. (New Hampshire was 10th.) So take heart my friends. We’re only grumpy when we travel.
OK, also when we drive.