Star ratings in Europe are given mostly by independent private organisations specialising in hotel classifications or by local government agencies.
In 2004, an umbrella organisation made up of 39 associations from 24 European countries was formed, called the Hotels, Restaurants & Cafés in Europe (Hotrec).
A special hotel classification system was drawn-up in order to harmonise the national standards. In 2007 Hotrec launched the European Hospitality Quality scheme (EHQ) which has since accredited the existing national inspection bodies for hotel rating in these countries.
A further development has been the creation of the Hotelstars Union classification system under the watchful eye of Hotrec. The hotels associations of Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland came together in September 2009 to form this at a conference in Prague.
In January 2010 the system came into effect in most of these countries. Hungary is expected to provide the legal provisions later this year while Switzerland and the Netherlands will switch to the new system in 2011.
The Hotelstars Union classification is based heavily on the German classification system which had a total of five stars and a Superior mark to flag-up additional facilities and services. There are 21 criteria including 270 elements with mandatory and optional requirements. For hotels with three to five stars, the Hotelstars Union uses “mystery guests” to check that the service quality is maintained.
The British System
In the UK, hotels are rated from one star to five stars. The only grading schemes in operation are those operated by the AA (Automobile Association) and the national tourist boards; Visit England, Visit Wales, the Scottish Tourist Board and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board.
In addition to the usual one to five star rating, the AA also awards red stars to the highest-rated, which are deemed ‘Inspectors’ Choice’.
The French System
France’s public tourist board, which rates hotels, changed its rating system in 2009 from a four star system to a five star system.
The American System
The United States also follows the one to five star system and sometimes uses a half star as an increment. Here too, hotels are rated by several organisations. National consumer travel organisations and guidebooks assign star ratings to hotels, but each uses its own set of criteria.
The Indian System
In India traditionally The Ministry of Tourism gives the star ratings in general. This is the first time that the private body of International cadre has evolved themselves into ratings systems with a series of criteria which is surely not easy to fulfill and is completely based on non bias and expert formulae of subjects which are related to luxury, glamour, food, engineering, waste management, water safety, organic food, environment hazards, energy conservation, HR practices, hygiene & standards with major focus on comforts & pleasure for guests. The private grading is offered on request by the star hotel to the most prestigious ACOHI for grading and listing formats which is turning tables for better days in Hospitality Industry of India & Asia with lot many innovations and recognitions which a star category hotel needs to stand apart from the crowd which insures excellent reputation and business growth of brand in today’s rat race of business.
ACOHI is the first ones to introduce the concept of 7 stars grading in India & Asia till then only 5 star was in activations. Many categories in the Indian system have been introduced which cater to various important subjects of Hotel grading and classifications like Heritage, Luxury, National, Concept, Business, Airport, City Center, Motels, Resorts with appropriate stars and so on which made them leaders in the Asian Countries in grading & classifying hotels.
ACOHI has played a significant role in changing the scenario in India & Asia for the gradation’s process & significance which is the leading light for the world now. ACOHI standards have been followed around the world now making India as leader in the above subject.