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Hospitality industry rating systems

When booking a hotel for a trip, or a table at a restaurant travelers look at the quality of the property that they will stay or dine in. A wide variety of rating systems exist but the most known is the Stars rating system. It is the rating scheme that is used by hotels nowadays to provide the traveler with the level of the quality of the hotel and inform travelers on basic facilities that can be expected. Rating standard considers usually criteria such as food services, entertainment, view, room size and additional amenities, spas and fitness centers, ease of access, and location to assess a property quality.

In 1958, Mobil Travel Guide become today’s Forbes Travel Guide. Ratings are given by anonymous paid staff members in stars based on different criteria. The Mobil Travel Guide Star Ratings provided ratings and reviews of hotels, restaurants, and spas on a scale of 1 star (average to good) to 5 stars (one of the best in the country). Initially, guides were regional and limited to the USA and Canada, but in 2008, Forbes Travel Guide launched the international star rating program for hotels and spas with the launch in 2011 of the Forbes Travel Guide in other countries such as China.

The American Automobile Association ( AAA ) created a rating system, for North America,  that gives a number of to the property ( hotels and restaurants ) after an unannounced visit. When a property is assessed, the AAA does so mainly by assessing the cleanliness, comfort, and hospitality for hotels and cleanliness, food preparation, and service for restaurants.

In some countries, the rating is handled by a single public standard institution and is usually defined by law. In others, the rating is defined by the respective hotel industry association. And aside from the Hotels Stars Unison in Europe, an umbrella organization for 39 associations from 24 European countries, there’s thus far no international classification that has been adopted. All the attempts to unify the classification system to ensure it becomes internationally recognized and unified have failed.

The change in the travelers consuming behavior and priorities introduced in recent years, alternative rating systems promoting important values such as sustainability and cultural diversity in the hospitality industry. Those systems included :

  • Green Key International is an international eco-label awarded to accommodations and other hospitality facilities that commit to sustainable business practices. Green Key Global is an international eco-label that certifies hotels and venues operating in 20 countries.
  • The Green Globe certification may be a structured assessment of the sustainability performance of travel and tourism businesses and their supply chain partners.
  • Salam Standard is a rating system that assesses hotels on their friendliness with Islamic values. Muslim-friendly criteria used in this system are things like offering prayer mats, not providing alcohol products and offering halal food. The system provides 4 levels: bronze, silver, gold, and platinum.


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