Accomodation Star Ratings scheme up for review
The accommodation industry’s controversial Star Ratings scheme will undergo an independent review amid concerns it has become outdated. The review could result in the introduction of a mystery shopper program, with consumer reviews also expected to be given more credence.
The review will be headed up by Rodger Powell, current chairman of BIG4 Holiday Parks and the former boss of Best Western Australia. Powell told Travel Today the system, while seen as reliable by consumers, needs to be “brought up to date”. “It’s definitely causing some concern in the industry, it seems to have become complex over a period of time,” Powell said.
A mystery shopper program will be considered, as will consumer feedback. “Consumers today want to rank a lot more than just the physical facilities of a property,” he said.
The review, which begins on Monday, will also benefit travel agents. “A reliable star rating system reduces the risk for travel agents. There is less risk of their clients
having a poor experience,” he added. The ratings system is managed by AAA Tourism. Chief executive Peter Blackwell told Travel Today it was clear a review was needed.
“A lot of property owners feel that the Star Ratings scheme is me telling them their baby is ugly. It’s not about that,” Blackwell said. Property owners have also been pushing for service and experience to be included in the rating scheme.
Many owners have become disillusioned with the current system, and have instead chosen to self-rate. “There’s no doubt that for the government, supply side quality is what they want to focus on, we saw that in the Jackson Report,” Blackwell said.