European Stars ?
Wednesday 30th March 2011
European Stars ?
Towards the Creation of a Pan-European Classification System
With service industries accounting for 70% of GDP and employment in the European Union, the EU Parliament issued in 2006 the 2006/123/EC Directive, calling for more transparency from member states when it came to the services sector. HOTREC is the European association representing the hospitality sector vis-à-vis the European institutions. On a daily basis, they follow all the major issues concerning the EU hospitality industry. We asked Anna Torres, CEO and Daniel Makay, Policy Advisor of HOTREC how they started the path to a pan-European hotel classification system, and to tell us more about the creation of the Hotelstars Union.
While the EU Directive does not specifically mention an overall European hotel classification system, HOTREC nevertheless started to work towards more transparency and harmonisation with regards to hotel classification systems before the Directive was issued. We started a benchmarking process with all of our members aiming at bringing them closer to one another. As the main result of this
exercise, the Hotelstars Union was created in December 2009, with one unified criteria catalogue for hotel classification in now 10 participating countries.
What were the results of thebenchmarking exercise?
In our position paper, we published 21 principles for the setting-up/revision of classification systems that we ask all of our members to follow. Today, most of ourmembers are widely complying with these principles and the EU institutions, mainly the European Commission and European Parliament gave their support to continue the work.
Not all the EU countries are part of the Hotelstars Union. What are you doing to change this?
it as a possible solution in solving their regional differences, such as Italy or Spain. Others have just recently changed their own system, so they need some time before changing it again. We hope that based on the initial success, many countries will consider to adhere to our system upon the next revision of their system.What is your role?
Our role is to exchange good practices between countries. We facilitate communication between our members and the EU institutions. In short, we do the political work for Hotelstars Union. The technical and marketing part is managed by the Hotelstars Union revolving Secretariat, currently held by the Swedish Hotel and Restaurant Association.
There are several EU member states that have already started implementing their own hotel classification system (France, for example). How are you trying to reconcile the differences?
We have five French associations that work with us and they are following the evolution of Hotelstars Union. Once the French system is similar enough to the criteria of the Hotelstars Union, they will be ready to join. This could happen within some years.
When can we expect a European-wide system?
Have you had any difficulties with some countries?
we are, and will also make it easy for non Hotelstar members to check on how many stars they would get under the proposed pan-European system. HOTREC keeps all the members up to date and we also run workshops to have an open exchange of views.
What are your goals for 2011?
We would like to add as many countries as possible and we are constantly promoting the system to the European institutions. For instance, on March 1st, we held a very successful seminar at the European Parliament to present Hotelstars Union to the European Commission’s officials, members of the European Parliament and member states representatives. This political supports will help us to continue on our road.
What is your message to the hoteliers?
All hoteliers outside of the Hotelstars Union countries are encouraged to have a close look at the system and compare what star rating they would get under the Hotelstars Union system. A new diagnostic tool will soon be available on the Hotelstars Union website to help hoteliers with their ranking. We are very involved in helping hoteliers and presenting Hotelstars Union to them.