Hotel Ratings are usually determined by private sources not governmental agencies (see below). Yet we trust those ratings so I wonder why we feel such an impetus to have governmental involved in many of our other business activities.
Hotel ratings are often used to classify hotels according to their quality. The development of the concept of hotel rating and its associated definitions display strong parallels. From the initial purpose of informing travellers on basic facilities that can be expected, the objectives of hotel rating has expanded into a focus on the hotel experience as a whole. Today the terms ‘grading’, ‘rating’, and ‘classification’ are used to generally refer to the same concept, that is to categorize hotels, mostly using stars as a symbol
There are a wide variety of rating schemes used by different organizations around the world. Many have a system involving stars, with a greater number of stars indicating greater luxury.Forbes Travel Guide, formerly Mobil Travel Guide, launched its star rating system in 1958. The AAA and their affiliated bodies use diamonds instead of stars to express hotel and restaurant ratings levels.
Food services, entertainment, view, room variations such as size and additional amenities, spas and fitness centers, ease of access and location may be considered in establishing a standard. Hotels are independently assessed in traditional systems and rest heavily on the facilities provided. Some consider this disadvantageous to smaller hotels whose quality of accommodation could fall into one class but the lack of an item such as an elevator would prevent it from reaching a higher categorization.
In recent years hotel rating systems have also been criticised by some who argue that the rating criteria for such systems are overly complex and difficult for laypersons to understand. It has been suggested that the lack of a unified global system for rating hotels may also undermine the usability of such schemes.
Standards of hotel classification
The more common classification systems include “star” rating, letter grading, from “A” to “F”, diamond or simply a “satisfactory” or “unsatisfactory” footnote to accommodation such as hostels and motels. Systems using terms such as Deluxe/Luxury, First Class/Superior, Tourist Class/Standard, and Budget Class/Economy are more widely accepted as hotel types, rather than hotel standards.
Some countries have rating by a single public standard — Belgium, Denmark, Greece, Italy, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Hungary have laws defining the hotel rating. In Germany, Austria and Switzerland, the rating is defined by the respective hotel industryassociation using a five-star system — the German classifications are Tourist (*), Standard (**), Comfort (***), First Class (****) and Luxury (*****), with the mark “Superior” to flag extras beyond the minimum defined in the standard. The Swiss hotel rating was the first non-government formal hotel classification beginning in 1979 It did influence the hotel classification in Austria and Germany. The formal hotel classification of the DEHOGA (German Hotel and Restaurant Association) started on August 1, 1996 and proved very successful with 80% of guests citing the hotel stars as the main criteria in hotel selection. This implementation influenced the creation of a common European Hotelstars rating system that started in 2010 (see below).
In France, the rating is defined by the public tourist board of the department using a four-star system (plus “L” for Luxus) which has changed to a five-star system from 2009 on. In South Africa and Namibia, the Tourist Grading Council of South Africa has strict rules for a hotel types granting up to 5 stars.