Australian Hotels Association calls for improved national rating system

AUSTRALIA The Australian Hotels Association and Tourism Accommodation Australia have called on AAA Tourism to deliver substantial improvements in restructuring its national hotel star ratings system to ensure Australia has an accurate, independent and consistent program that consumers and businesses can trust.

“The accommodation industry has become gradually more dissatisfied with accommodation ratings systems over the course of the past five years, and we estimate that probably only 20% of consumers are even aware of the ratings schemes,” says Bradley Woods, CEO of both hotel organizations.

AAA Tourism is slated to launch a new star ratings system for Australia in July. “Accommodation properties want a high-profile ratings scheme that the public has complete faith in, and AAA Tourism needs to get this absolutely right once and for all,” Woods says. “Hotel guests have used star ratings as an important determinant when considering which properties in a particular class of accommodation they wish to stay in. However, in recent years, less and less consumers are relying on the scheme as more and more accommodation providers move away from the star ratings system.”

Consumers and accommodation properties would prefer one reputable and permanent star ratings system that focuses on a number of core quality areas, he says. “Consumers and accommodation providers need to be confident that the focus of the star ratings system is on the right areas, such as cleanliness, quality of the bedrooms and their amenities and guest facilities, food and beverage and the quality of customer service throughout the property,” he says.

Given the increasing prevalence of user-generated online review sites like TripAdvisor, “any future system needs an element of subjective input that will add a third dimension to the information and provide consumers with a tangible sense of involvement,” he says.