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Hotel star ratings - towards a better system of review

"Star Ratings at hotels face the axe" says a headline in the Daily Express.

"Hotel star ratings are to be scrapped because they are 'out of date' it emerged yesterday. Instead, guests will rely on consumer reviews on the Internet. [snip] Tourism minister John Penrose said the rating system is 'too often unreliable and unfair ...'"

A guest at Well House Manor commented to me this morning about how lovely the underfloor heating in the bathroom is. How lovely the bathroom products are, and how lovely it is to have proper cotton towels. "I've not had better even in a five star hotel" she added. And yet we're unrated.

We're unrated by choice; there's a number of reasons for this.

Firstly, it's because we rather agree with the tourism minister that the current system is outdated and unfair. Many elements at Well House Manor are things you would only find in some five star hotels. But other elements that are required for three stars - such as having coat hangers that are retained rather than loose - which seem to be something of a negative rather than a positive, provide you keep a good stock of hangers to replace those that people accidentally walk off with. And there's no need for us to have a night porter (and put the prices up to cover his salary) these days - we can be with a customer who calls us quicker than a traditional porter in a large hotel, even in the middle of the night.

Secondly, it's because we believe that the rating system would not be good value for us; during the week, we're busy with delegates for courses and other business guests. On winter weekends, there (frankly) aren't too many tourists around, and on many summer weekends we're already full with wedding guests. So the rating system would be bringing guests in on only a limited number of days. Divide the setup cost of getting even an 'unfair' rating - the best part of a thousand pounds a year - by the number of days, and you'll see that we would have to put up our prices for those days, or make a (lesser) extra charge on all our guests for a rating system that they've done without in the past

Thirdly ... what's the point in getting the emails and phones buzzing with inquiries to the extent that we're turning significant numbers of enquirers away; with just five rooms, the difference between "empty", "full" and "over-flooded" is small, and "overflooded" is a sure way to upset regulars, and to loose training delegates who want to come on courses, but who find they can't stay - and they are the customers we primarily exist to serve.

But there is a need to be reviewed. People do need to know what they're coming too. And that's were review sites online come into their own. I largely agree with John Penrose that this is the way for the future; there are just a couple of aspects I would pick up as being 'less than perfect' in such a scheme, but all in all it's a huge improvement from our viewpoint. The hotel industry is here to provide what its guests want, and not what a professional hotel-visitor ticks off on his sheet - that's a sure way to play into the hands of mundane sameness, rather than to nurture and encourage customer-aware innovation

(written 2011-01-25)

Associated topics are indexed as below, or enter for individual articles
M400 - Well House Manor - The Hospitality Business
  [4321] Are administration / review charges on hotel guests acceptable? - (2014-11-20)
  [4232] Not wanted here - hotel guests who will not be happy - (2013-12-30)
  [4202] Excellent Railfuture conference, but some setup lessons - (2013-11-03)
  [4051] On reading a new hotel review - (2013-03-24)
  [4033] Official Star ratings for hotels - still worth having? - (2013-03-07)
  [3988] Three cheers for the staff at Well House Manor - (2013-01-24)
  [3909] Every Customer Counts - (2012-11-01)
  [3838] Guest review - Well House Manor, Melksham - (2012-08-14)
  [3832] A busy day at Well House Manor - so come in and make it even busier! - (2012-08-10)
  [3743] Sunday - no longer a day of rest - (2012-05-28)
  [3660] A Pivotal Incident - learning how to welcome your guests - (2012-03-18)
  [3309] Tipping Policy - Well House Manor - (2011-05-29)
  [3164] Brown - or Mrs Sally Brown, accountant from Whitstable? - (2011-02-10)
  [2936] The service that customers should receive - (2010-08-27)
  [2879] Night Porter and reception - 24 hours a day? - (2010-07-20)
  [2724] Escapee Grandparents welcome - Henfield and Melksham - (2010-04-15)
  [2593] Food and drink launch - (2010-01-21)
  [2303] Turning potential customers away - (2009-07-24)
  [2283] Everyone is in the customer relations business - (2009-07-12)
  [2007] Launch of Melksham Food and Drink Festival - (2009-01-24)
  [1877] Guests doing a bunk? - (2008-11-09)
  [1792] All the pieces fall into place - hotel and courses - (2008-09-10)
  [1622] An extra step - victory from defeat - (2008-04-25)
  [1548] Hotelympia - show report - the lighter side - (2008-02-21)
  [1445] Looking after you Christmas Customer Crowds - (2007-11-26)
  [1422] Wiltshire - speaker / after dinner talker offer - (2007-11-05)
  [1421] Castle Lodge Hotel, Ely, Cambridgeshire - (2007-11-04)
  [1284] An update on the West Wilts show ... - (2007-07-30)
  [1248] How NOT to oversell a hotel - (2007-06-27)
  [1180] Conjugation - (2007-05-08)
  [1161] A contrast in room rates and facilities - (2007-04-25)
  [1122] Hotel - online feedback forms compared - (2007-03-30)
  [1108] Express service - (2007-03-14)
  [1084] Writing terms and conditions for conferences and other events - (2007-02-17)
  [1048] Getting rid of people - hotel techniques - (2007-01-21)
  [1046] Bounce, bounce, bounce - (2007-01-20)
  [1002] Meet the neighbours - (2006-12-20)
  [988] You should think you're first in a hotel room - (2006-12-15)
  [922] Staying at your own hotel - (2006-11-12)
  [884] Drive time - (2006-10-02)
  [774] Bed and Breakfast, or Hotel? - (2006-06-22)

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This is a page archived from The Horse's Mouth at - the diary and writings of Graham Ellis. Every attempt was made to provide current information at the time the page was written, but things do move forward in our business - new software releases, price changes, new techniques. Please check back via our main site for current courses, prices, versions, etc - any mention of a price in "The Horse's Mouth" cannot be taken as an offer to supply at that price.

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