Formal system of classification 3-4
Star rating system 4-5
Accommodation classification and rating systems
Have you ever think about how many hotels there are in the World? It is true that there is a large number and it keeps growing rapidly every day. According to the World Tourism Organization (2008) there are 16 million hotel in the world, with 20% of them belongs to the hotel networks, whose considered like the most effective way of doing business in the hospitality industry. Nowadays in the world is over 100 international hotel corporations, from small with several tens objects to "heavyweights" including thousand of hotels. It is not surprising that someone wanted to divide all these hotels under categories, by grade level. Also it is not surprising that this bright idea has visited many minds and organisations like National Tourist Boards (England, Scotland, Wales, Northern, Isle of Man, Guernsey, Jersey), the motoring organisations (Automobile Association [AA] and Royal Automobile Club [RAC] ) together with a number of commercial guides: Eron Ronay, Good Hotel Guide, Michelin etc.(Wood, 2000). Soon there have been formed different hotel classification and rating systems, about thirty, each with its own system of notation and criteria. On the facade of the hotel shines „stars”, „crowns”, „keys”, „forks” and other attributes of the tourist world. But what actually do they mean and what are the benefits and challenges of the classification and rating system?
Early hotels and inns were little more than an available bed and something barely palatable to eat. The emergence of tourism in the latter half of the 19th century brought with it an improvement of the standards of the early inns. Some pressure was placed on these facilities to offer some minimum standards where the consumer was able to identify a property with specific amenities. The rating system emerged out of efforts by the Automobile and cycling clubs in Europe, who in their tour books displayed hotels, which they recommended to their membership, based on the guaranteed facilities which these hotels/inns offered. This led to the establishment of rating systems such as the Automobile Association (AA) and its American counterpart the (AAA) and the Michellin tyre company’s – Michellin Red Guide and other mobile guides. After World War II National Tourist Boards began to consider some form of hotel registration/classification system. There was some difficulty in doing so. By 1970 only five European countries had national classification systems, by 1980 this number increased to 22 European countries and 60 countries worldwide. The criteria applied by the classification systems were, and still are not uniformed. There were various meanings attached to registration, classification and grading. Registration: simply a recording of estabilishments on a register which may or may not require inspection. The estabilishment would not normally need to comply with particular specification other than legislation pertaining to fire precautions, hygiene and so on, which can be viewed as form of minimum standards.(Wood,2000) Classification: is where the stock of accommodation is sub-divided into categories. Each category consists of specified facilities. Classification does not imply a qualitaive element, only that specified facilities and services are provided, with the overall understanding that the establishment is clean and well maintained (Wood, 2000) The classification is a coded form of summary of the level of comfort and range of services (European Consumer Centres, 2009) Grading: Often used as a general term, sometimes to mean “classification” but more widely accepted to mean “quality grading”, namely a more subjective assessment of the...