Scrapping Hotel Star Ratings
Hoteliers and just about everyone else in tourism thinks that the Department of Culture & Oddities will withdraw funding from the star scheme, the way that hotels have been independently judged for decades in England. The rest of the UK is unaffected. The consensus seems to be that review and, to an extent comparison sites, have taken on that task. Why should the government continue to put money in it when private industry is doing the task goes the story.
But this doesn’t necessarily please the hoteliers. And is it acceptable to us as visitors?
Star ratings are independent reviews by trained people. About 24,000 hotels and other providers of accommodation subscribe to the Quality Assessment Scheme (to give it its proper title) and expect to get inspectors visiting, assessing and then grading them on a 1-5 star basis. But do we take any notice of these ratings? Would you reject a hotel because it has 2 stars instead of 3?
The growth of sites like TripAdvisor with its millions of reviews prompts many, including the ministry to conclude that we prefer these sites. Hoteliers are wary because of problems with some of the reviews that are going up on these sites. You have probably come across the case of the Dragon’s Den regular, Duncan Bannatyne who has a hotel that got a bad review. He objects that the review is unfair and unjust so is trying to get it taken down. TripAdviser and he both claim the other is trying to bully the other. In North Wales last December, hoteliers and tourist people met with TripAdvisor to try and sort out differences. Meanwhile one law firm is collecting hotels together in a possible court action against the company. The reason for all this is because, in the past, reviews by rivals and owners have deliberately been put up which can damage or unnecessarily praise a business. Some reviews are biased then goes the argument. Independent assessment is better. It might be but not if we still don’t take any notice of them. Travelsupermarket.com has done some research to suggest that the day of the star scheme maybe over as far as the general public is concerned.
The British Hospitality Association has suggested that the AA would be capable of running such a scheme as indeed they have done in the past. Certainly, for package holiday companies, the rating system on hotels at destination is important to the way they price holidays. And to our understanding of what we are getting.
But after the scare, the tourism minister, John Penrose, announced that they didn’t plan to scrap the ratings system in England. Only privatise it So the doom mongers seem to have it wrong. You will have a choice of how to judge a hotel. Unless no one wants to undertake the task.