Hotel industry leaders have leapt to the defence of the star rating system after Jurys Inns last week called for it to be scrapped as it was “no longer relevant” to today’s customer.
The budget hotel chain said its research proved that public no longer rated the 101-year-old star rating system, calling for a simpler system that reflected the modern customers’ needs.
John Brennan, chief executive of Jurys Inns, said: “We think there is a need for a system that regulates a minimum standard for hotels, particularly at the lower end of the market, so consumers can have confidence in their choices.
“Equally, we believe the system needs reform and should be better focused and more interactive.”
But hospitality leaders have sprung to the current system’s defence, claiming that although it is not perfect, it is more reliable that peer-to-peer sites such as TripAdvisor.
Andrew McKenzie, managing director of the Michelin-starred Vineyard at Stockcross, said: “Every few months another budget chain calls for the abolition of the star system. Perhaps for these very branded offerings it has no place and they should therefore avoid it and push their brand and all it stands for.
“The vast majority of the hotel landscape in the UK, however, is populated with independent hotels of very varying quality and the AA star scheme still has credibility and integrity both within the industry and with consumers.”
David Young, owner of The Cross at Kingussie in Scotland and a former AA hotel inspector, added: “There is a growing opinion across the hospitality industry that TripAdvisor is not all it's cracked up to be.
“Rankings and reviews are being manipulated by unscrupulous operators, hoteliers are writing their own reviews (or worse, they're writing damning reviews of their competitors), and reviews are posted without any check for factual accuracy.”
By Gemma Sharkey
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