Un­pack­ing Star Grad­ing

What ex­actly does the term "star graded" mean and what is the sig­nif­i­cance of such a rat­ing for hote­liers and their guests?

Tourism Tattler - - EDITORIAL - By Richard Bray About the Au­thor: Richard Bray is the Group Op­er­a­tions Man­ager for Pre­mier Ho­tels & Re­sorts. A born Hote­lier, with over 30 years of ex­pe­ri­ence in the ho­tel and restau­rant in­dus­try, Richard stud­ied Ho­tel Man­age­ment at the Wits Ho­tel School

In a nut­shell, the Tourism Grad­ing Coun­cil of South Africa (TGCSA) has a set grad­ing cri­te­ria and min­i­mum stan­dards by which ac­com­mo­da­tion es­tab­lish­ments are rated from one-star to five-star.

Th­ese guide­lines en­sure lo­cal es­tab­lish­ments up­hold their al­lure as in­ter­na­tional travel des­ti­na­tions.

Con­trary to what it may seem, a one-star rat­ing for in­stance does not mean a ho­tel is of a lesser qual­ity. It sim­ply means that there are ad­di­tional re­quire­ments needed to progress to a rat­ing of two-star and up­wards.

Ac­cord­ing to Mina Monare, Con­sumer Feed­back Li­ai­son Of­fi­cer at the TGCSA, a grad­ing can be changed at a later stage, de­pend­ing on cir­cum­stances. This could ei­ther be in the form of a down­grade in star grad­ing level or an up­grade whereby an estab­lish­ment is re­con­fig­ured (through ren­o­va­tions) to meet min­i­mum re­quire­ments and stan­dards for a higher star grad­ing level.

She adds: “Star grad­ing in South Africa is vol­un­tary. There are just on 5 300 star graded es­tab­lish­ments in the coun­try, a true tes­ta­ment of the star grad­ing sys­tem’s value to both tourism op­er­a­tors and trav­ellers.” Ho­tels that are el­i­gi­ble for grad­ing are, ac­cord­ing to the TGSA web­site, es­tab­lish­ments that pro­vide ‘for­mal ac­com­mo­da­tion with full or lim­ited ser­vice to the trav­el­ing pub­lic’. In ad­di­tion, they have a re­cep­tion area and of­fer a din­ing fa­cil­ity. They must have a min­i­mum of four rooms as well.

The en­try re­quire­ments for all star rat­ings by the TGCSA in­clude that an on-site rep­re­sen­ta­tive must be con­tactable seven days a week, 24 hours a day.

The web­site fur­ther stip­u­lates that where ap­pli­ca­ble, any meal(s) and bev­er­ages must be pro­vided from out­lets within the bound­ary walls of the prop­erty, which may or may not be op­er­ated by the prop­erty. Ser­vic­ing of rooms seven days a week must be in­cluded and a for­mal re­cep­tion area must be pro­vided. Bath­room fa­cil­i­ties must be en-suite.

Ad­di­tional re­quire­ments for four-star and five-star rat­ings in­clude on­site park­ing with se­cu­rity for guests, a valet ser­vice, room ser­vice, a concierge, porter­age and lug­gage han­dling, as well as other ser­vices such as baby and child mind­ing, mes­sage pass­ing, and news­pa­per de­liv­ery. Full house­keep­ing and laun­dry ser­vices must also be pro­vided. By way of ex­am­ple, Pre­mier Ho­tels & Re­sorts have sev­eral prop­er­ties in their three-star and four-star cat­e­gories. Th­ese ho­tels are def­i­nitely reap­ing the many re­wards of be­ing star graded, which in­clude ex­clu­sive ac­cess to the Bas­ket of Ben­e­fits - a plethora of tai­lor-made of­fer­ings rang­ing from dis­counted pro­cure­ment and ameni­ties to train­ing and devel­op­ment ser­vice providers along with mar­ket ac­cess.

In con­clu­sion, I quote Monare: “Graded es­tab­lish­ments en­joy ac­cess to busi­ness from the gov­ern­ment as only graded es­tab­lish­ments can be used by gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials. They have ex­clu­sive rights to dis­play the glob­al­lyrecog­nised plaque – giv­ing es­tab­lish­ments an im­me­di­ate qual­ity iden­tity.”

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