Making the grade: Hotel star ratings

July 22, 2016 •

3 min reading

Making the grade: Hotel star ratings

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Have you ever wondered how the hotel rating system came to be? Who determines what ratings hotels get, and what is the criteria behind it? Is the rating system consistent around the world, or does the rating system change based on the country?

When contemplating a career in hospitality and tourism management, or hotel management, knowing the criteria that will make your hotel stand out among the rest is key. Contrary to what one may think, hotel ratings are based on a number of criteria, but usually differs based on what part of the world you are in.

The most widely used system in the United States, The Seven Stars Galleria system, was designed in 1958,. The other top US rating system, the AAA Five Diamond Awards, uses diamonds to denote what rating a hotel or restaurant may receive. In both instances, the higher the number of stars or diamonds, the more luxurious the venue. The UK, France and Spain also have a five-star system, but their system is reassessed every five years. In other countries, the governmental regulating agency, or local councils determine the star rating of a hotel.

Technology taking center stage

As technology continues to become integrated into society, travelers have become very vocal about the places they stay. This has become a game changer for many hotels, with consumers providing ratings for the general public. The consumer voice is very strong in hospitality and tourism, with sites like TripAdvisor, Expedia and others playing a major role in the scoring system.

Understanding the process

Although consumers have a voice and can assist in boosting ratings, independent groups like the AAA and other travel sites send hotel reviewers to stay at these hotels to determine the quality of services. While these are not the complete determining factors, they weigh heavily on what is considered as luxury to travelers and what will be a low-rated hotel.

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What criteria is assessed in the ratings?

Being in the hospitality industry requires complete attention to detail. A hotel that has a star rating of one would probably have the bare minimum, with limited facilities. Three-star hotels usually have a place to sit or lounge in the reception area, have phones in the rooms, a safe for storing valuables and other services such as laundry or ironing. A five-star hotel offers top-notch service, including turndown service, a personalized greeting or trinket in the room for the guests, minibar and 24-hour room service and more, including top-rated restaurants on the premises.

Although five-star hotels have those amenities, it is becoming more standard for four-star hotels to offer many amenities of a five-star hotel. There are some hotels classified as six – and seven-star hotels that go over and beyond. The Burg Al Arab hotel in Dubai has a butler for every room, which adds to the intrigue, price tag and reasoning behind the seven-star designation.

Practice makes perfect

Working in the hospitality industry, or considering a career in hotel management takes dedication and training to be the best. Long hours and total commitment make highly-rated hotels the best in class. Whether working for a large chain or a boutique hotel, the level of professionalism must remain the same. Consumers are notorious for placing bad reviews on the internet, where it counts the most. Taking the time to understand the target customer and catering to their needs will help improve the star-rating of your hotel, and keep it there. To date, there is no one system that categorizes every hotel. Studying the criteria of each rating system around the world will help design a strategy that works and will position your hotel as a top-rated destination.

Knowing how to protect your hotel and deliver high quality standards is a must, every single day.

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EHL Alumni 2017