The T+L World's Best Awards Methodology: How We Conducted the 2022 Survey

A closer look at how the Travel + Leisure World’s Best Awards survey is conducted and the results compiled.

Blue sky white clouds and World's Best Awards type
Photo: Travel + Leisure

A survey developed by the editors of Travel + Leisure, in association with research firm M&RR, was made available at from October 25, 2021 through February 28, 2022. Readers were invited to participate through Travel + Leisure magazine, T+L tablet editions, newsletters, social media, and M&RR maintained, monitored, and kept the survey website secure, and also collected and tabulated the responses. To protect the integrity of the data, after the survey closed, Travel + Leisure and M&RR screened the responses to identify fraudulent votes, which were eliminated from the final tallies.

Respondents were asked to rate airlines, airports, car-rental agencies, cities, cruise ships, destination spas, hotels, hotel brands, islands, tour operators, safari outfitters, and U.S. national parks on a number of characteristics (below). For each characteristic, respondents could choose a rating of excellent, above average, average, below average, or poor. The final scores are averages of these responses. Scores shown have been rounded to the nearest hundredth of a point; in the event of a true tie, winners share the same ranking. In most categories, respondents could also rate optional characteristics; these ratings are not included in the overall scores.

Hotels were categorized as City or Resort based on their locations and amenities. For resort hotels, the U.S. was divided into 18 states and regions: Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Greater Miami Beach, Hawaii, Montana, New York, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Wyoming, the Mid-Atlantic (Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania), the West (Alaska, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington), the Midwest (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin), New England (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont), and the South (Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia).

For the cruise category, respondents were asked to rate individual ships; the results were combined to generate scores for cruise lines in different categories. The categories are: mega-ship ocean cruise lines (capacity of 1,500 cabins or more), large-ship ocean cruise lines (800 to 1,499 cabins), midsize-ship ocean cruise lines (300 to 799 cabins), small-ship ocean cruise lines (150 to 299 cabins), intimate-ship ocean cruise lines (150 or fewer cabins) and river cruise lines. Some cruise lines may appear in multiple categories depending on the makeup of their fleet.

A minimum number of responses was necessary for a candidate to be eligible for inclusion in the World's Best Awards rankings. Some companies were eligible to be rated in multiple categories; they were scored independently for each category.

Categories and Characteristics

Airlines: Cabin comfort, in-flight service, customer service, value.

Airports: Access, check-in/security, restaurants/bars, shopping, design.

Car-rental agencies: Vehicle selection, vehicle availability, car-rental location, service, value.

Cities: Sights/landmarks, culture, food, friendliness, shopping, value.

Cruise ships: Cabins/facilities, food, service, itineraries/destinations, excursions/activities, value.

Destination spas: Accommodations/facilities, treatments, service, food, value.

Hotels: Rooms/facilities, location, service, food, value.

Hotel brands: Locations, rooms/facilities, food, service, value.

Islands: Natural attractions/beaches, activities/sights, restaurants/food, people/friendliness, value.

Tour operators and safari outfitters: Staff/guides, itineraries/destinations, activities, accommodations, food, value.

U.S. national parks: Natural attractions, activities, lodging, wildlife, accessibility, cleanliness.

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