Re­sorts opt out of rat­ing sys­tem

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - An­gelique Pat­ter­son

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?’’

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