Hotel categorization, or hotel rating is the basis for determining quality standards in the hospitality industry. There are five categories of hotels, motels and guest-houses (1-5 stars), 4 categories designated to camp-sites (1-3 stars) and three categories of houses and youth hostels tours (marked with Roman numerals). To be included in the right kind of hotel facilities and obtain the appropriate category, object must meet the minimum requirements for each category.
- external fittings surrounding areas (e.g. lighting),
- interior features of the object (water supply, sewerage, heating, air conditioning, elevators),
- reception and dining room (e.g., minimum areas, the number of toilet facilities),
- minimum range of hotel services (such as wake-up calls),
- minimal surfaces hotel rooms, equipped with furniture, lighting, sanitary and hygiene facilities,
- minimum qualifications required of staff.
Purpose of hotel categorization
Hotel categorization is used in order to:
- help people identify standard and level of services,
- protect consumers,
- have an influence on services and prices,
- vary the requirements according to the type and providing services,
- determine the requirements for each category relating to equipment, appearance, etc.,
- facilitate trade and contact between people.
Hotel rating is based on a scale of 1-5 stars, 5 stars means the highest level of services, 1 star means the lowest/poor standard. Five-star system helps to classify hotels according to their quality and makes that it is easier to compare them. Hotel star rating system is used almost all over the world, but there are some exceptions e.g. in the USA instead of star system, diamond system (AAA Five Diamond Award) is used. In England, in addition to star system there exists crown system. Despite the existence of other systems, the star system is an essential tool to rate hotels.
Different countries have different requirements for hotel standard. The same number of stars not exactly means the same in other country:
- ***** five-star hotel (luxury) – provide the guests with the highest level of accommodation and services. The highly qualified and multilingual staff (receptionist, concierge, page boy, doorman etc.). Reception and room service opened 24 hours. The lobbies are spacious, the rooms complete with stylish furnishing and quality linens. There are various amenities and facilities to meet the needs of most demanding customers. Locations of the 5* hotels can vary from the very exclusive locations of a suburban area, to the heart of down-town.
- **** four-star hotel (first class) - provide the guest with the level of service above average. The rooms are spacious and they are well lit and furnished. Room service and other facilities and amenities are present. The highly qualified staff. Hotels are usually located near shopping malls or city centres, there are dining areas and other major attractions.
- *** three-star hotel (middle class) - provide the guest with the average level of services. Large, well-appointed rooms and decorated lobbies. They are often located near major express-ways or business areas, convenient for shopping trips, have moderate to high priced attractions
- ** two-star hotel (economy) – It is usually small to medium-sized and conveniently located. The facilities typically include telephones and TV's in the bedroom.
- * one-star hotel (budget, tourist) – small hotels managed by the proprietor, usually have a more personal ambiance. In the room there are only basic equipment. Poor standard of services.
Exception from the five-star system:
- ******* seven-star hotel - The Burj Al Arab hotel in Dubai (described as "the world's only seven-Star hotel")
- Fittkau, S., & Jockwer, A. (2008). Quality Rating in Hotel Community Sites. In Trends and Issues in Global Tourism 2008 (p. 85-93). Springer Berlin Heidelberg.
- Hensens, W. (2015). The future of hotel rating. Journal of Tourism Futures, 1(1), 69-73.
- Hung, J. Y., & Lin, F. L. (2012). Taking an expended view of customer to construct hotel rating system. International Business Research, 5(4), 12.
- Narangajavana, Y. (2007). The Relationship of the Hotel Rating System and Service Quality (Doctoral dissertation, Oklahoma State University).
- Hotel Stars Union - Hotel categorization criteria.