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Star wars threaten hotel industry

Stars have more than decorative uses for Swiss hotel owners Keystone Archive

Switzerland’s hotel owners’ association, hotelleriesuisse, has warned it will not accept a rival hotel rating system.

This content was published on November 16, 2004 - 19:41

The organisation believes that the existence of more than one star system would only serve to confuse hotel guests.

Hotelleriesuisse says it will not give up what it believes is an exclusive right to rate hotels.

For a quarter of a century, it has been handing out stars to the country’s hoteliers. The higher the number of stars, the better an establishment usually is.

“It is one of our competences and has been recognised by others as such,” said hotelleriesuisse president Christian Rey on Tuesday.

The association, which claims its members account for 80 per cent of overnight stays in Switzerland, says that its rating system is easy to understand and ensures customers know what they are getting.

“It really helps people decide where they want to stay,” said Rey.

Confusion

Hotelleriesuisse believes that two systems would only confuse customers, and would be a disservice to both them and the hotel.

Gastrosuisse, the restaurant owners' organisation, proposed in September a separate rating system for the country’s hotels.

The federation, which represents 20,000 members, said at the time that small hotel owners have a hard time fulfilling the criteria set out by hotelleriesuisse.

“We have been given the mandate by our members to create a new star system for hotels, and we expect to carry it out,” said Gastrosuisse director Florian Hew.

Marketing tool

According to Hew, anywhere between a third and a half of the country’s 6,000 hotels have no stars.

He says that besides lacking a rating, many of them also have no real commercial presence.

“They don’t know how to market themselves, and a rating system is a marketing tool,” he told swissinfo.

The president of hotelleriesuisse said many places offering some form of hospitality were hard to rate. He added that these establishments, which he does not consider to be hotels, could benefit from a separate rating system.

Gastrosuisse says it wants to introduce its star system in 2006, although it has yet to decide the criteria for each rating.

“The rating we will give hotels will have to be understandable to foreigners and locals alike,” Hew told swissinfo. “It will have to be user-friendly and easy to market.”

swissinfo with agencies

Key facts

Hotelleriesuisse handed out stars to 2,303 establishments this year, a small drop from last year's total.
The 74 establishments that disappeared from the ratings list were mostly two- and three-star establishments that had closed.
Luxury and first-class hotels are doing better though according to hotelleriesuisse.

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