World Practices Hotel Classification Essay

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World Practices Hotel Classification

Previous research has given prominence to European and American grading systems and less attention to other Important tourist destinations of the world. Therefore, this paper alms to extend the range of investigated classification schemes to Asian countries as emerging tourist markets and to elucidate the differences between classification in Europe and Asia. Many studies have been reported about classification schemes in general, but less research has been engaged with comparing the different frameworks In detail.

This work addresses this gap by comparing the structures and characteristics of these systems and giving concrete examples about Switzerland, Germany, Hungary, China and Japan. The results of a classification criteria analysis show the correspondence of hose systems, assisting a better understanding of grading schemes In general. Thereby, this study is intended to support both academic and practical fields.

Finally, future research directions and limitations are identified. Key words: hotel classification, star rating, classification criteria, comparative analysis Introduction As the focus of hospitality has moved from consumer protection to consumer information in recent years (United Nations World Tourism Organization [UNTO], 2004), standardization together with competitive marketing of hotel services have emerged to develop national hotel classification systems.

According to DEGAS, the German Hotel and Restaurant Association, hotel classification was created to be meaningful both for the customer and for the hotel business and to contribute to transparency and safety of hotel offers (Deutsche Hotel undo Augusta timberland [DECAGON, 2005) in a way that would help customers to determine what sort of conditions they can expect for the price they are paying. Further, from the hoteliers’ point of view, it is a sort of advertising, in the way hotels can position themselves on the market.

It has to be noted, however, that E-mail: [email protected] Employ. Eng. Hookups. AC. JP SINS 1094-1665 print/less 1741-6507 online,’08/040379 -20 # 2008 Sat pacific Catalina User and Gamma Chichi comparing and contrasting them to management expectations and perceptions (Calla, 1998; Calla & Levee, 1997; Kim & Oakmont, 2006). Some have focused on special market segments, such as business travelers (Dollar, 2002) or young government officers (Paraguayan, Siphon, Hungered, & Surpass, 2007).

Further, customer expectations, importance of quality grading and total quality management (TTS) as a significant factor of hotel selection have been investigated (Calla, 1995; Camion, 1996; ‘ Fernando & Bedim, 2004). Gang, Oakmont, ‘ and Donovan (2004) analyze further the effect of service quality and show how the type of accommodation influences customer behavioral intentions. Other studies examine the influence of hotel classification on room price and Revenue Per Available Room (Reveal), often in parallel with the location of the hotel (Jimenez & Marvel, 2004; Jacob & Marvel, 2004).

While many studies have examined grading schemes in general, others have focused on a single country’s hotel classification yester (Shallots & Marvel, 2004) and only a few have been engaged with comparing the different frameworks in detail (Minute International Group, 2004; Wilson & Marvel, 2004). Vine (1981), who gives a selection of European countries with national classification systems, concentrates rather on the growth of grading schemes and points out their advantages and disadvantages, leaving a space of detailed analysis of the elements of those systems.

In this vein, the purpose of this paper is to investigate hotel classification schemes and examine how these systems can be marred with each other. It is also important to look at some concerns. Many researchers consider hotel classification to be an inexact science (Vine, 1981). This could be accurate in a way, as none of the statutory classification schemes is these systems provided by the government or, in some cases, such as Switzerland, by a volunteer organization, concentrate rather on physical facility attributes and number of services, and only a few of them refer to the assessment of quality (Martin, n. D. ).

This is one basic misunderstanding that often leads to disappointment among rigorists, who tend to think about hotel classifications as if they reflect the quality of the hotel (Holloway, 1994). There is also often some confusion about classification, grading, categorization, assessment and ranking, which are frequently utilized without due consideration of their meaning. In some cases the media communicate the above-mentioned words in an incorrect way, in other cases the literature itself uses the expressions interchangeably. For clarity, a brief explanation is provided below about the two most commonly used terms, based on Holloway (1994): .

Classification distinguishes hotels according to certain physical features (amenities, facilities, service and cost), e. G. The number of rooms with a private bathroom.. Grading identifies hotels based on certain verifiable objective features of the service offered, e. G. Whether 24-hour service is provided. These expressions, however, still do not cover a subjective evaluation system, thus do not refer to quality assessment, but clarifying their meanings can help in understanding better what the different classification and grading were applied as synonyms in order to monitor both hysterical attributes and services.

Previous researches have been mainly engaged with hotel classification as part of the consumer choice for accommodation, World Practices of Hotel Classification Systems watertight, and it is very hard to pin down an ideal system. That also explains why an internationally harmonize classification has not been developed up to now. Travelers from different countries in the world have different personal requirements and conceptions and an international standard would only create false expectations that could not be fulfilled (Makeshift, 2006).

Only if the advantages of a uniform system outweighed the disadvantages would it be worth the effort to have such a system. Those attempts that were leading up to the process of harmonistic of hotel classification systems on international levels were also unsuccessful. The International Standards Organization and the World Trade Organization met in 1998 to discuss Jointly harmonize hospitality standards. The delegation got only so far as to recommend that as a first step standards be set in the key areas of housekeeping, front office, and food and beverage, and in the end nothing was implemented (Maternity’s, 2003).

On the other hand, according to Calla (1994), both tourists and the hospitality business could benefit from the provision of a set of monitored and reliable minimum standards. This is a significant argument for this study as it builds on the hypothesis that, although often seen as irrelevant and not possible to harmonize on the international level, hotel classification systems as such are still important and they represent valuated information. The importance of a harmonize system can be argued further from other aspects.

The impenetrable Jungle of hotel classifications al over the world causes difficulties not only for the traveler but also for the hotelier, for the government and for the tourism and hospitality researcher as well. Although all these parties have to face time-consuming searches for different hotel classifications and language barriers, each of them is struggling with 381 particular problems. Tourists usually do not know that there is no unified system in the world for hotel classifications.

Their perceptions often do not match with what they receive for the sake of insufficient and ineffective communication. Hotel managers complain about unfair competition caused by the different systems (Lethe, 2004). Tourism bodies have a never-ending dispute over a unified hotel classification system (Hotels, Restaurants & Cafes in Europe [HOTTER], ‘ 2004) at a European and international level. Countries without a classification system do not have a reliable base and they require a lot of time and research effort to develop their own system.

This paper agrees with the fact that variations between countries’ standards naturally exist and that it is not a simple task to harmonize classifications at an international level. It does not aspire to standardize hotel classifications either. However, it assumes that comparing the different frameworks in detail can reveal important information for the hospitality sector. The authors believe that certain other elements that are found not to be common could characterize the given classification system and be considered as country-specific criteria.

Identifying common and counterinsurgency criteria could contribute to realizing that classification systems are different across the world and, further, to understanding by what means they are distinct from each other. Such detailed comparison of hotel classifications could serve both academic and practical fields in various ways. Researchers could extend their investigation area and discover new bases for benchmark studies. Hospitality educators could train and instruct their students with a more profound knowledge.

Through helping them to recognize 382 Catalina User and Gamma Chichi To achieve that, a survey of major hotel classification systems is conducted followed by a structural analysis. As a next step, this work presents a detailed criteria analysis of selected countries’ classification schemes: Switzerland, Germany, Hungary, China and Japan. In this paper, the main characteristics of these systems are identified, and the classification criteria are arranged for operational and analytical purposes and analyzed according to their content.

Finally, future research directions and limitations are identified. Differences in hotel classifications, scholars could foster international understanding. Further, the current status that confronts tourists with a world of diverse hotel classifications could be improved by an analysis of classification criteria and a summary of the characteristics of each country. This paper suggests that the results of this case study would assist tourists to prevent misconceptions in advance and avoid disappointments after arrival.

Tourists could benefit from this in such a way that they could make easier decisions for hotel selection and find accommodation more suitable to their needs. This would satisfy customer expectations on a higher level and also yield time and financial merits. As far as the hospitality industry and the hoteliers are concerned, examining grading schemes in the world could improve interpretation of global similarities and differences. This could contribute to the process of developing fair competition measures and achieving a desired market position.

Based on such comparative analysis, a recommendation for hotel classification could also be offered, assisting countries that aim to develop a new hotel classification system or reform the existing scheme. It has also to be noted that most of the above-mentioned previous studies gave prominence to European and American grading systems and less attention to other important tourist destinations of the world. Therefore, this paper aims to extend the range of investigated localization schemes to Asian countries as emerging tourist markets and survey typical hotel classification systems with a focus on European and Asian countries.

Moreover, this work intends to fill a gap in the literature by comparing structures and characteristics of these systems and analyzing their classification criteria in detail, I. E. Determine common criteria and detect country-specific criteria. Classifications of hotels in different countries typically come from government or governmental sources, independent ratings agencies, or sometimes the hotel operators themselves (Maternity’s, 2003). The various classification systems reflect the diversity of hospitality services and refer to the different cultures and geographical situations.

However, these systems have something in common: grading is given out according to technical parameters based on what the hotel offers, and not based on the quality of the services. For charm, views, the feel of the place or the friendliness of the staff one has to turn to other sources; in most cases to guides of individual organizations (e. G. The Michelin Guide). This paper focuses on official hotel classification systems designed and controlled by government sources or repossession associations.

How these classification schemes vary and what main characteristics they have are outlined briefly below. Ninety countries have an official hotel classification system in the world, where Europe takes the first place with 37 countries (42%), followed by Asia and Africa covering less than one-third of the world total each. World Practices of Hotel Classification Systems The American continent seems to be the less classified; where 10 countries represent South America (including Latin America and the Caribbean) and Canada indicates North America (HOTTER, 2004; UNTO, 2004).

It has to be noted that the existing and welkin grading schemes in the USA (AAA and Mobile) are considered as non-official systems; they are guides of individual organizations, however they enrich the palette of hotel classifications. Further investigation reveals that Europe is almost 100% classified, which can be generated from the fact that the first classification systems for accommodation were developed in Europe (HOTTER, 2004) and thus it can be considered as the cradle of hotel classification. Countries without a classification system, such as Finland and

Norway, intend to introduce a grading scheme, closely following Swede’s example. In Europe, classification is mandatory in almost every country. Fifty per cent of the classification is conducted by the authorities and the other 50% covers hotel and automobile associations as well as experts. The star system is the most common symbol for grading, except for the I-J and Cyprus, where diamonds and letters are used in combination with stars, respectively. The other side of the globe reflects such a diverse picture, as classification systems vary in Europe. For example, hotels in

Korea are classified into categories as third, second, first, Deluxe and Super Deluxe hotel. Chinese hotels have a five-star system plus a platinum level for the highest quality. Top-grade hotels in China can satisfy the level of international luxury hotels; however, lower grades will not meet all the requirements that their European counterparts do. China is putting much effort into hotel development to satisfy the needs of international visitors. In order to keep its rank among the top tourism destinations in the world (UNTO, n. D. ) and, further, hosting the Games of the XIX Olympian in ND quality.

Despite hotel classifications, in Asia room fee is still the most accurate indicator of quality. Moreover, language knowledge of personnel is more critical than in Europe, however in high-class hotels having English-speaking staff is a must. Asian primary destinations have hotels with relatively sophisticated personnel, where applying and utilizing the latest technology is a requirement as well. According to the above-mentioned cases, the harmonistic of the various systems seems to be a hard task to accomplish. In addition, it can be questioned whether tourists expect denaturized conditions everywhere they travel.

Many of them traveling around the world have different expectations according to their destinations, interests and purpose of their trip, as well as their ages. The question has been addressed in the agenda of several international organizations: at a European level by HOTTER; and at the international level by the International Standards Organization (SO) and the World Tourism Organization (UNTO). However, after all, the complexity and diversity of grading systems and the stout resistance of countries inhibited concrete measures HOTTER, 2005; UNTO, 2004).

Methodology This study aims to compare different hotel classifications, approaching the question by analyzing their general characteristics and structures. The goal of the structural analysis is to discover the complexity of each system and detect classification layers. The basic Catalina User and Gamma Chichi This methodology focuses on comparing hotel classification criteria of each country and investigates how similar these criteria are compared with each other. The criteria can be described by a set, C I, defined by CIA h {ceil , … Act } (5) are of each classification system is represented by the individual criteria that are investigated further, demonstrating the originality of this study. For that purpose, this research proposes the Hotel Classification Criteria Comparison Methodology. In the following subsections the notations and definitions are described, along with an explanation of the procedures of the methodology. The similarity of C I and C s can be described by Simi, (C I, C s) and defined by Simi (CIA , CSS)hex Corners(CIA ,CSS) kill CIA s I (6) Notation and Definitions In the proposed methodology, there are three databases that have to be identified.

The original hotel classification criteria of m countries are saved into a database O, where m} (1) Tic h 1, if there is correspondence h O, otherwise (7) These data are then translated into a common language (in this study into English), creating another database, described by T, defined by T h Translate (O) (2) Corners, (CIA , CSS) denotes the correspondence of k I C I and C s, and J is indicates the number of criteria in C I. Note that Simi (CIA , CSS)= Simi (CSS , CIA )(8) The amount of data in T impedes a relevant comparison, thus they need to be simplified, naturally without deviation from the original meaning.

Based on the modification of data in T, a new database, N is built that provides the data for analysis and comparison in this study and can be defined by N h Modify (T) (3) because comparing C I with C s provides with different results than comparing C s with C I. Methodology Explanation Figure 1 illustrates the methodology used in this study, whose steps are briefly summarized as follows. L: Data of official hotel classifications in different countries are collected, from which the classification criteria are extracted. The importance of these data lies in that they are the base of

The pair-wise comparison in this study selects a standard country, denoted by s, and a target country to be compared with s, described by I, where I, s [ N (4) World Practices of Hotel Classification Systems 385 Figure 1 Hotel Classification Criteria Comparison Methodology. Catalina User and Gamma Chichi each hotel classification system and, further, their evaluation decides the category of a hotel (e. G. 1- 5 stars). The original classification criteria are saved into O. Data are translated into a common language, creating database T. T is investigated if the included criteria need modification.

The cases for modification are as follows: Ill-I : the criteria are originally connected indicating that it is possible to choose only one criterion; 111-2: multiple criteria refer to the same meaning and vary merely in quality grades; 111-3: data are quantitative; 111-4: more not need modification are directly processed to the next step. VII-I : one-to-one correspondence, when a criterion of C I corresponds to one criterion of C s; VII-2: one- to-many correspondence, when a criterion of C I matches more than one criterion of C s; VII-3: many-to-one correspondence, when more than one criteria of C I respond to the same criterion of C s.

As an output of the comparison process, a list of common and country-specific criteria is available, including corresponding and non-corresponding criteria, respectively. VIII: The correspondence Simi, (C I, C s) is calculated. ‘X: The result shows to what extent C I corresponds to C s. X: In case there is a need to undertake another comparison, the process returns in a loop to step VI and selects another I as the new country to be compared with s. V: VI: evil: The criteria that satisfy the conditions in Ill-I – 111-4 are modified, and a new database N is built up. The standard country s is selected from N.

The target country I is selected from N. The criteria of C I are compared with C s. Correspondence is identified when C I and C s have exactly the same criterion, however, this possibility is quite low. Therefore, correspondence is allowed when different wording and phrasing in C I and C s refer to the same meaning, and when the criteria of C I and C s have the same wording complemented by different detailed information. This methodology determines three types of correspondence: Analysis This work was meant to represent countries from both Europe and Asia and, rover, samples with different economic and political backgrounds.

This paper decided which countries had a high relevance to tourism by referring to the list of UNTO World Top Tourism Destinations (UNTO, n. D. ). During the search for samples, language differences were a major challenge, especially because in many cases information on hotel classification was available only in their native language. For this study, it was considered essential to involve Switzerland in the analysis, as it was a pioneer in the history of hotel classifications. Other countries best

World Practices of Hotel Classification Systems matching the above-mentioned criteria were Germany and Hungary, representing Europe as a market economy- based country and a former socialist, now market-oriented country, respectively; and similarly from Asia, Japan, with its capital market, and China, symbolizing a centrally planned economy that is now changing rapidly into a more market-oriented system. In this study, data were collected from both published and online sources, from hotel associations and government legislations of the analyzed countries, and from academic papers (DEGAS, n. ; If, 2007; Gads ‘gig sees ‘ Killdeers Ministering annoyance, 2006). 387 Classification Characteristics Switzerland introduced hotel classification in 1979 and created the first and only worldwide private enterprise system of its kind. Germany established its hotel classification based on the Swiss example in 1996, 2 years before the Hungarian system was developed. In Asia, China was among the first countries with its foundation of hotel classification system in 1988.

All these systems have been updated since then based on changes in the hotelier business and on special chemical conditions of some accommodation units (e. G. Health issues, barrier-free environment). Although both the German and Chinese systems are on a voluntary basis, classification and controlling is performed by the hotel association in Germany and by the authorities in China. Hungary and Switzerland hotel classification is mandatory, however in Switzerland it is mandatory only for the members of the heterosexuality (Swiss Hotelier Association).

All of these countries employ a five-star rating system, except for China, which has a platinum level above the five-star category. The localization process is controlled by local municipalities and representatives of the customer protection authority in Hungary, and by heterosexuality in Switzerland. The monitoring must be repeated regularly every 3 years in Germany and every 5 years in China, Hungary and Switzerland. Further, the German, Hungarian and Swiss classification systems incorporate plausibility checks and sample-wise inspections on the spot.

All of these systems include objective criteria and, except for Hungary, some subjective criteria as well. The combination of criteria to be satisfied as a minimum ND criteria that are optional is common in all of the abovementioned cases. Japan represents a blank space in Asia, as being a developed country it surprisingly does not have a classification system so far. This can be explained by cultural reasons, mainly that the Japanese are not used to being compared with or evaluated by a third party (User, Chichi, & Hampton, 2007).

Further, there is a misfile among Japanese people that low hotel grade equals low quality level. Thus, most of the Japanese small- and medium-size hotels protest against any hotel classification or grading because they fear a possible “under-evaluation”, I. . Obtaining lower grades and losing their customers. They rather categorize different hotels into hotel types, such as budget hotel, business hotel, city hotel and luxury hotel, either through word of mouth or by travel agency evaluations, and use these hotel types for differentiating quality levels.

Magazines such as Clan or Weekly Diamond have their own ranking system for hotels in Japan that usually gives stars to hotels according to the satisfaction level of the guests. These facts have long impeded the development of of classification areas and adding of sections would allow a more distinct picture. The Japanese framework is the most simple and straightforward one, which originates from the fact that the developers’ primary aim was to provide the system as an easily understandable online tool for hotel selection.

Nevertheless, it can be argued whether that simplicity indulges the actual needs of the hotel sector. Among all the countries analyzed, this study considers Germany’s model to be the most suitable and efficient for serving as a sample for a future world standard. Official classification system. Only recently, owing to changes in international tourism, eve concrete initiatives started (Annoying, 2006) towards a self-assessment system of hotels.

The proposal for a self-assessment system for Japanese hotels was developed by the Society for Tourism Informatics (SST’) in 2006 and it has been the subject of further discussions with tourism authorities and hotel managers (Murrain, 2007). At this point, self-assessment and hotel classification has to be distinguished, as the classifying body is the hotel itself in the first case and a third party in the latter one. However, it has to be added that every classification begins with a selfsameness by he hotel, which is built up from the same criteria that are the base of the final decision by the classifying body.

Thus, despite of the fact that the Japanese system is not in the classification phase yet, this study accepted the SIT proposal in the criteria analysis. Criteria Analysis In this paper, the Hotel Classification Criteria Comparison Methodology was applied to Switzerland as s, and Germany, Hungary, China and Japan as I, respectively; and four pair-wise comparisons of CIA and CSS were conducted. As the first hotel classification systems were born in Europe, it was considered to be appropriate to hose s from Europe in this study.

The facts that Switzerland introduced its hotel classification system much earlier than other countries in Europe, that Switzerland revamped its system very often due to demand changes, and that its system served as an example for many other European countries, explain why the criteria analysis took Switzerland as the basis of the comparison and why the investigation concentrated on how other nations’ classification criteria correspond to Swiss criteria. The four appraise comparisons were aimed at testing the proposed methodology, and ended that illustrating to what extent different countries do or do not correspond to the Swiss system.

The classification criteria were translated into English (Figure 1 II); however, in some Structure Analysis The results of the structure analysis indicate a three-layer alignment (classification area, section(s) and criteria) in the case of Switzerland, Germany and Hungary, and a two-layer structure in China and Japan. Taking a closer look at the criteria alignment of each analyzed country, Figure 2 demonstrates how the classification areas and sections form their shape. The structure model of Switzerland shows a rather