What does constitute a four or five star hotel?

The International Hotel Association is one of many organizations which provide their global membership with a catalogue of criteria what entails being star rated, from the measly1 star to the highly acclaimed 5 star hotels and resorts.

Some properties, in particular in the UAE, of course claim to be 7 star hotels but global criteria for 6 and 7 star hotels have yet to be formally established and universally agreed to and therefore remain in the sphere of personal impression.

Here in East Africa we are of course all accustomed to the sad fact that many owners blatantly allocate themselves stars, AND put them up over the front entrance, in complete disregard of global criteria or without having undergone a formal grading and rating process.

These owners of hotels, courtesy of their money and not necessarily by training or experience, often make a laughing stock out of themselves when clients who initially fell for the trick find out that perhaps as many as three of the five stars ought to be ripped off the self styled sign boards. Of course that only sinks in after the clients themselves have been ripped off while believing in phantasy ratings.

Find out how UNWTO looks at the ratings in their latest media release

UNWTO report identifies common criteria for 4 and 5 star hotel classification

The new UNWTO report Hotel Classification Systems: Recurrence of Criteria in 4 and 5 Star Hotels, identifies the common criteria among 4 and 5 star hotels, providing valuable insights for destinations wishing to revise existing or establish new hotel classification systems.

Benchmarking international accommodation standards can help destinations establish hotel classification systems which are more relevant and useful to consumers, hotels, intermediaries and destinations alike. Against this backdrop, the new UNWTO report Hotel Classification Systems: Recurrence of Criteria in 4 and 5 Star Hotels compares criteria recurrence in 30 European destinations and six destinations in other regions.

Prepared jointly by UNWTO and Norwegian Accreditation (NA), an agency of the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries of Norway through its QualityMark Norway programme, the report reveals that despite the existence of many types of classification systems across the globe, there are more similarities than differences, both between geographic groups and between 4 and 5 star categories.

The report also provides a general overview of the existing types of hotel classifications, their benefits and challenges, and offers general guidance on areas to consider when setting up an official classification system.

Findings also suggest that more regular reviews of hotel classification systems can be useful to keep them up-to-date with rapidly evolving consumer needs, particularly with regards to technology and accessibility.

This is the second joint UNWTO / Norwegian Accreditation report on the topic of hotel classification, following Online Guest Reviews and Hotel Classification Systems: An Integrated Approach, published in 2014.

Full Report: Hotel Classification Systems: The Recurrence of Criteria in 4 and 5 Star Hotels
Report: Online Guest Reviews and Hotel Classification Systems: An Integrated Approach
UNWTO Regional Programme for Europe:
Norwegian Accreditation