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Star ratings for hotels are just about the most misunderstood ratings for consumers. Outside of Italy, France, and Germany, there are few destinations where stars aren't meaningless. And even where they mean something they need to be update for the Wi-Fi generation.

The Knesset Economic Affairs Committee today reinstituted hotel star rating, after more than 20 years during which Israeli hotels were not rated according to the standard international stars system. The committee approved regulations for rating hotels according to 267 criteria, including breakfast, fitness rooms, children’s activities, quality control, and swimming pools. The regulations will come into effect within eight months, but will not apply to bed & breakfasts or apartment hotels.

Although Israeli hotels were not rated by the star rating system, this has not prevented travel agencies from marketing them to local and foreign tourists on the basis of ratings as the agencies saw fit, without any official sanction.

Minister of Tourism Stas Misezhnikov said that the approval was a historic step for consumers, which would lower room prices in Israel. In June, he told “Globes” that the absence of a uniform rating system greatly distorted consumers’ costs, and that as soon as the regulations were passed, the ministry would publish a tender to choose an international rating agency to rate Israel’s hotels on the basis of the European Hotelstars Union model.

Ministry of Tourism director general Noaz Bar-Bir told “Globes” that the regulations would lower hotel room prices by 5-7 percent.

However, the Israel Hotels Association acting president told “Globes”, “I fear that the ratings will lead to higher prices, because hotels that were close to their real ratings will invest a bit of money in renovations to raise their rating and charge tourists more money.”

Fattal Hotel Management Ltd. owner Yossi Fattal welcomed the approval of the regulations, but added that hotels should be warned not to use the announcement for their own ends. “We want to ensure that the industry and lexicon will not mislead about the star ratings. For example, by suddenly publishing 5 stars-plus,” he said.

(c)2012 the Globes (Tel Aviv, Israel). Distributed by MCT Information Services. 

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Tags: israel, ratings

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