Home Business The environment invites itself into the stars of the hotels

The environment invites itself into the stars of the hotels

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Whether sporting one star or five (the maximum possible), 87% of some 17,000 French hotels have adopted this stellar rating in France, according to Atout France, the public body responsible for promoting France as a tourist destination abroad. . It should be remembered that this classification, which was instituted in the 1930s, is not compulsory and that its allocation criteria are specific to each country. A three-star in France does not necessarily meet the same requirements as elsewhere…

240 criteria

To request its classification, a hotelier must tick the boxes of a form which includes a list of more than 240 criteria. This long list goes from the minimum surfaces of rooms with bathroom facilities included (10.75 m2 for a two-star double room to 24 m2 for a five-star) to the presence of room service, including the “staff awareness of how to welcome customers with disabilities” or even the provision of a wastepaper basket…

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Certain criteria are mandatory depending on the category concerned. Thus the presence of a safe ” in operating condition “ in the room is it compulsory only for three-star and four-star hotels. On the other hand, even one-star hotels must provide a mirror.

The mystery shopper

The hotelier then contacts an approved organization which will delegate an inspection of at least 30% of the rooms before Atout France can certify the classification. According to Laurent Duc, head of the hotel branch of the Union of Hotel Trades and Industries (Umih), the process costs the hotelier around €600. “In addition to this control, hotels claiming four and five stars are also visited by a mystery shopper, who assesses the services”, specifies Laurent Duc who recalls that the classification is valid for five years since the major reform of 2009. Previously, the number of stars was practically awarded for life.

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The evaluation grids are regularly reviewed, like that of this Friday, April 1 with the appearance of new criteria. Thus all categories of hotels must offer wi-fi in all rooms. Above all, it gives pride of place to environmental requirements. The number of criteria in this area has doubled (from 13 to 27). Moreover, while only three of these criteria were mandatory, whatever the category (raising employee awareness of the economical management of energy, water and waste), all hotels must respect at least thirteen!

It goes from there “proposal in all rooms of a means of reducing the quantity of towels to be washed” to the “implementation of at least one measure to reduce energy consumption” passing through the “implementation of at least one waste reduction measure”, or even “the regular use of at least three products from fair trade or organic farming”.

Another useful ranking?

Be careful however, it is only at the end of the five years of their certification that the hotels will have to take this new grid into account. An establishment having received its three stars in 2021 will therefore be concerned in 2026.

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A question arises, however: is being classified really useful for hoteliers? Certainly, according to Laurent Duc. “It’s a traditional reference for customers and it’s a way to stand out on the websites of establishments that are not classified”, he said.

According to Mark Watkins, founder of Coach Omnium, a research firm specializing in tourism and hospitality, the answer is no. “According to our studies, only 14% of customers in France and Europe take this ranking into account when booking”, he said. In addition, according to the latter, the awarding of stars does not necessarily guarantee the quality of the service.

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