Thursday, November 23, 2006

Star ratings are useless - apparently

PING! An email arrives from a company called Check Safety First, an online hotel auditing service, urging us to visit their stand at the ABTA convention next week in Marbella.

However, one of the headlines accompany the email is interesting and mildly controversial.

“Fact: No one believes that the star rating system is a guide to quality or safety………”


Kevin May, editor, Travolution


Guillaume said...

Hotel Star rating always has been an issue because from one country to another, consumers don't expect the same service, the same quality, the same facilities and so on. Inside individual country, the issue of star rating is also a problem. Look at UK for have AA, RAC, Tourist Board rating. On top of that you also have online intermediaries' own rating (Expedia, Superbreak, LateRooms, Octopus...) and then you have tourism guide (Michelin guide, , DK and more...). All those players have different criteria and at the end of it, the consumer is lost !

I think companies like TripAdvisor or Active Hotels are giving a good alternative to star rating...and as an end-user I no longer look at the star rating but only the overall review score that I see on those sites.

Tim said...

Particularly when you take things to their ultimate conclusion - the likes of the Burj Al Arab in Dubai awarding itself seven stars on the grounds (presumably)of excessive quantities of gold leaf, and a helipad that Tiger Woods plays golf off.
While it might be a nice place, ratings have to come from a trusted, independent third party to mean anything to consumers.

Darren Cronian said...

The hotel rating system is a joke, especially in London. Take this as a prime example.

Hotel A, on was quoted as a 3 Star hotel, on Active hotels, it was quoted as a 2 diamond hotel.

When I got there, it was lucky to be any rating nevermind 3 star or a 2 diamond.

I'm not a hotel expert like Guillaume, but to me the rating system needs sorting out and streamlining across Europe, to help travellers, not confuse them.

Anonymous said...

I think the point Check Safety First is making is that incosistency and the potential for abuse of the star system have devalued it over time. It's a point which I think resonates at a time when growing numbers of holidays are being purchased online.

In the past people have been overly dependent on the star system, which has long been viewed as the easiest way to judge the standard of a hotel. This grading system is based on a subjective assessment of a hotel’s facilities, for example does it have a conference room or a swimming pool? This does not necessarily take into consideration the things that can have a huge impact on a holiday such as customer service, the hotel’s ambiance or even the assurance that basic hygiene standards are in place.

The fact that people are turning to the web for a broader view of holiday accommodation is healthy. The apparent abuse of these resources and the widely varying standards of star systems places a greater emphasis on independent travel advice sites which provide consistent criteria for assessing standards, for those areas of the hotel that can be glossed over by brochures.