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Forbes Travel Guide (formerly known as Mobil Guide or Mobil Travel Guide) is a star rating service and online travel guide for hotels, restaurants and spas.[1] In 2011, Forbes Travel Guide published its last set of guidebooks and on November 15, 2011, launched its new online home,,[2] which covers numerous international destinations, including Hong Kong, Macau, Beijing, Singapore, Shanghai, Mexico, the Caribbean, Latin America, Japan, Thailand and London. combines Forbes Travel Guide’s Five-Star travel ratings system with insights and perspectives from Forbes Travel Guide’s own inspectors.

Forbes Travel Guide
Type of businessPrivate
HeadquartersAtlanta, Georgia, United States
CEOFilip Boyen
IndustryTravel & Hospitality



Founded by Mobil in 1958, Forbes Travel Guide is the oldest travel guide in the United States. Ratings are given by anonymous, paid staff members in stars (with no half-stars or zero stars), based on objective criteria. A Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star rating is a considerable honor, with only 115 hotels and 55 restaurants receiving the top honor. The ratings serve as a Certification mark, in that Mobil had registered trademarks for the phrases and designs indicating each star rating level, and allowed only rated establishments to display them.

Initially guides were regional and limited to the United States and Canada. The first, issued in 1958, covered five states in the Southwest and South Central United States. In 1960, this guide was revised and volumes covering the Northeastern States, the Great Lakes, and California and the West were introduced. Guides covering the Middle Atlantic States and the Northwestern states were introduced in 1962. In 1965, a guide for the Southeastern States was introduced, although only one state covered by this volume, Tennessee, had any Mobil service stations.

Later, the number of volumes was expanded, as regions covered by the guide shrank. For instance, California was covered by two volumes, one for the north and one for the south. City guides also followed. In 2008, Forbes Travel Guide launched the international star ratings program for hotels and spas with the release of the inaugural Forbes Travel Guide Beijing and Forbes Travel Guide Hong Kong and Macau. Published in print by ExxonMobil Travel Publications, until 2011, the guide was published online by

In October 2009, ExxonMobil licensed the brand to the Five Star Ratings Corporation, which is owned by internet entrepreneur and WebMD founder Jeff Arnold. Five Star Travel Corporation entered into a licensing agreement with Forbes Media, and renamed the Star Awards and guidebook series, Forbes Travel Guide.[3][4] Forbes Travel Guide's new online home,, was launched in 2011, which marked the last year of publication of the traditional printed guidebook series.

Star RatingsEdit

The Mobil Travel Guide Star Ratings provided ratings and reviews of hotels, restaurants and spas on a scale of one star (average to good) to five stars (one of the best in the country) starting in 1958. Forbes Travel Guide has continued the Five-Star ratings with ratings categories of Five-Star, Four-Star and Recommended, and has a team of inspectors who anonymously evaluate properties against proprietary standards.[2]

Forbes Travel Guide - 2019 Star Award Winners by country[5]
5-Star 4-Star Recommended Total
  United States 151   United States 444   United States 213   United States 808
  China 77   China 105   China 33   China 215
  United Kingdom 16   Canada 36   Italy 19   United Kingdom 58
  France 13   United Kingdom 29   United Kingdom 13   Canada 53
  Mexico 12   Mexico 27   Canada 11   Italy 52
  Italy 10   Japan 26   France 10   Mexico 49
  Japan 7   Italy 23   Mexico 10   France 42
  Singapore 7   United Arab Emirates 23   Japan 9   Japan 42
  Canada 6   Indonesia 21   Spain 8   United Arab Emirates 33
   Switzerland 5   France 19   Portugal 7   Indonesia 30
Others 39 Others 150 Others 115 Others 312
Total 343 Total 903 Total 448 Total 1694


  1. ^ "About Forbes Travel Guide". Retrieved 2014-01-31.
  2. ^ a b "Startle". Retrieved 2011-12-22. The online home of Forbes Travel Guide, the creators of the original Five-Star ratings system and the leading travel authority since 1958.
  3. ^ "Mobil Travel Guide to become Forbes Travel Guide". Associated Press. 2009-08-04.
  4. ^ Carly Zinderman (2009-12-03). "Hotel Rankings: Forbes Merges with Mobil". International Business Times.
  5. ^ "Forbes Travel Guide - 2019 Star Award Winners". Forbes.

External linksEdit