Resorts opt out of rating system
ACCOMMODATION facilities in the region are following a national trend and opting out of the AAA Tourism-managed star rating system as almost one-third of properties face a rating downgrade under a new scheme.
Instead accommodation facilities are choosing to self- rate and rely on client reviews on popular websites including TripAdvisor.
Star Ratings Australia national operations manager George Campbell said licensees facing a rating downgrade have had up to two years to undertake refurbishment or upgrade work to retain their old rating.
‘‘Any property who has started a works program or who can demonstrate a commitment to a works program before the two-year moratorium concludes in October 2013 will receive an allowance to retain their star rating,’’ he said.
‘‘The objective of the new scheme is to meet consumer expectations as well as to improve the overall quality of Australia’s accommodation product.
‘‘Star Ratings has not moved the goalposts, it has responded to consumer demand and industry best practice and if an operator has not effectively managed their asset while their competitors introduce a new and improved standards, they cannot expect to maintain their rating.’’
Australian Resident Accommodation Man- agers Association Port Douglas president Sheryn Blundstone, owner and operator of Peninsula Boutique Hotel in Port Douglas, said increasingly more of their members were opting out of the AAAT Star Rating system, which has been rating accommodation on a one to five-star basis since 1963.
‘‘A previous survey we did showed 31 per cent of our members have indicated that they did not renew their AAAT Rating for 2013 and a further 30 per cent indicated they may not review in the coming year,’’ she said.
‘‘The stars and diamonds are really on the way out, there is so much more available these days for people to have a look to find where to stay from reviews.’’
Under the new scheme there are six rating categories - large, medium and small or independent accommodation operators from metropolitan and regional Australia.
Mossman Gorge Bed and Breakfast owner Mandy Coxon said a large portion of their guests use TripAdvisor, Lonely Planet guides and any information they can find on the internet.
‘‘We have never been star rated and have been operating now for nearly 16 years and have never felt the need to go down that path, in the season we turn many, many people away,’’ she said.
‘‘None of them seem concerned about star ratings, they can read for themselves what past guests have to say these days.’’. In this day and age guests are looking for the unique holiday experience - how do you rate that?’’