From all accounts, the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority has a relatively tough hotel classification system, giving properties an official star rating based on amenities, features and services across a broad range of categories.

The tourism authority says its e-classification system has its own twists, although it is basically modeled after official rating systems in Switzerland, Scotland, New Zealand, and Lebanon.

Now Abu Dhabi Tourism is going one important step further, and next year will begin incorporating user/guest reviews from TripAdvisor, Booking.com, Expedia and Hotels.com, according to a story in HotelNewsNow, as part of its overall scoring.

The tourism body claims it is the first governmental authority to intregated guest hotel reviews into its official star-rating system.

This is a smart move by Abu Dhabi, which after auditing properties as part of its several-year-old classification process, will also be monitoring not only how its hotels fare on hotel-review sites, but also how they respond to reviews that show some of their services wanting.

Abu Dhabi Tourism has chosen to use reviews from some of the largest hotel search and booking sites in the world, and it is a nice mix because TripAdvisor’s user reviews are unverified, while in order to post a review on Booking.com, Expedia or Hotels.com, you are required to have used those sites to book your stay, and thus the reviews are from verified as coming from actual guests.

This should provide a well-rounded picture.

The new classification system, which takes user reviews into account, will be detailed in a new manual once details are finalized, the tourism body says.

Under the new system, exceptional properties will be eligible for a 5 star-plus classification, as well.

Properties earning a “plus” rating would have to do very well in social media/hotel reviews to achieve that level.

Tags: abu dhabi, ugc
Photo Credit: The BBC cited the Grill at the St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, Abu Dhabi, as the "best new restaurant" as part of its Good Food Middle East awards. As part of Abu Dhabi's new star rating systems, hotels will also have to do well based on the sentiments of user reviews from TripAdvisor and Expedia. The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort