Out of 126 hostels in major US cities, only 35 have ratings over 80%, and 38 hostels have ratings of 69% or lower.
As part of the upcoming "hostel reviews" issue of the email newsletter, I've created a spreadsheet that hostels can use to calculate how to bring up their Hostelworld Ratings.
Download the spreadsheet [right-click and choose "save as", otherwise it may open as "read-only"]
A hostel can plug in Hostelworld ratings in the yellow boxes, and then see the overall rating in the orange box. The numbers can be modified to see where improvements have to be made to bring the hostel up to at least 80%. (I think 80% is a good minimum target.)
For example, a hostel with these ratings has an overall rating of 73%:
The way I would do it would be to take a look at the online reviews and analyze what is wrong. Then I would systematically work through ways to improve specific aspects of the hostel.
Management could then enter some new values into the yellow boxes of the spreadsheet and see what needs to be done to bring the hostel up above 80%.
In this case, maybe targets like this could be set:
Character: 83% - creative redecoration, fix the furniture, etc.
Security: 80% - install better lockers, front door security, get rid of shady guests
Location: 80% - leave this one alone for the moment
Staff: 88% - train the staff to be more helpful (see links below)
Fun: 79% - regular planned activities, social arrangement of furniture, icebreakers (cards, board games, hostel instruments)
Cleanliness: 80% - checkup on the cleaners daily
...bringing the hostel's overall rating up to 82%.
Hostel reviews aren't the final measure of how good a hostel is, but they can indicate areas that could be improved, and guests use them when deciding where to book.