The Road Ahead : June July 2007
FEATURES JUN/JLY 07 13 STORY BELINDA PETERS Astrologers believe that fate is written in the stars and that's definitely the case with RACQ's STAR Rating Scheme. Travellers have been turning to these stars to determine the fate of their holidays for more than 50 years -- no astrologer needed. Whatever your holiday budget, RACQ's STAR Rating Scheme provides a consistent, objective and independent rating of more than 11,000 proper ties Australia-wide, across 10 accommodation categories, including hotels, motels, bed & breakfast places, caravan parks and backpacker establishments. RACQ's executive manager travel and touring, Andrew Millward, said the STAR Rating Scheme was the only official accommodation rating system in Australia and has become a trusted guide for helping people to choose accommodation. "The strength of STAR ratings is that it's an easy-to-follow system, backed by a detailed process that ensures each proper ty is assessed on its own merits," Mr Millward said. "The accuracy of each STAR rating is of the highest impor tance. Trained assessors rate each proper ty against 300 criteria tailored for that par ticular accommodation categor y, reassessing each member proper ty ever y 12 to 15 months. "This gives a proper ty a rating in its par ticular categor y. "For instance, a five-star hotel will have a different level of amenities to a five-star backpackers' establishment. In this way, STAR ratings adequately reflect the different types of accommodation and the dif ferent expectations of travellers. "Auditors regularly check the work of the assessors to make sure ratings are accurate." The criteria under which the proper ties are assessed are designed to give a fair representation of the level of facilities, cleanliness, appearance, maintenance and décor, in line with industr y and customer expectations. Criteria are regularly evaluated and updated through consumer research, industr y liaison and user feedback. Mr Millward said it was this commitment to accuracy and travellers' needs that had cemented the STAR Rating Scheme's trustwor thy reputation, with research indicating that more than 70 percent of travellers use it when deciding where to stay. A new, free RACQ publication, Accommodation STAR Ratings, a handy guide, gives travellers a greater understanding of what the STAR ratings mean in each categor y, plus all the information they need to make an informed accommodation choice. Mr Millward said STAR rated proper ties should not be confused with 'self rated' proper ties that were increasingly seen on internet accommodation booking sites. Star treatment SEE THE STARS • Pick up a free Accommodation STAR Ratings, a handy guide and/ or the pocket-sized Unfolding STAR Ratings brochure at any RACQ branch, or access it online via the trip planner at racq.com. • To book a STAR-rated proper ty, pick up an RACQ accommodation guide at any RACQ branch, call the RACQ Accommodation Booking Ser vice on 1800 629 501, or book online at racq.com. • Feedback on RACQ's STAR Ratings Scheme can be directed to email@example.com. "Self ratings are basically where owners decide for themselves what rating the proper ty deser ves. The rating is not necessarily based on any known criteria and nothing is assured," he said. "With self ratings, there can be a significant risk that you won't get what you pay for, but with STAR ratings, you can be sure you're not taking such a chance. "RACQ welcomes feedback about any star-rated proper ty, so if travellers don't agree with a rating, there is some recourse available. This feedback ensures that the system continues to be relevant to all travellers."
April May 2007
August September 2007