Croatia to Abolish Hotel Stars Categorization System?

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Tourism Minister Cappelli says that guest assessments are more important than the number of stars.

The Ministry of Tourism is considering the abolition of the classic hotel stars rating system in Croatia, which is in line with global trends in the hotel industry. The details of the future model will be the subject of talks with hotel owners, said Tourism Minister Gari Cappelli, adding that the official hotel categorization system in Croatia was outdated, reports on June 16, 2017.

“Due to the development of technology, for the market positioning of a hotel, it is more important what guests have to say. The importance of the official number of stars is declining, particularly given the fact that the system varies from one country to another. Three stars in one country cannot be compared with another country, which is why many countries have already abolished the obligation of official categorization at the state level,” explained Minister Cappelli, quoting the example of Great Britain which, without an official star rating system, has some of the most expensive hotels in the world.

“Analysis show that ratings by website visitors directly affect hotel revenues. This is particularly noticeable in hotels of higher quality,” said consultant Sanja Čizmar, who conducted research on the impact of online assessments on the revenues of hotels in Croatia and Montenegro.

In order for guests to have at least some sense of what they can expect, many countries have retained a form of hotel rankings in terms of quality and facilities, which in most European countries is not done under the umbrella of the state, but rather by specialised agencies or associations, while the participation of hotels is voluntary. Hotel stars in 13 European Union countries, including Austria, Germany, the Czech Republic and Hungary, are given by The Hotelstars Union, a hotel initiative which has recently been joined by Slovenia as well.

Minister Cappelli pointed out that he is aware that the Croatian hotel industry still needs to mature for the star rating system to be abolished, which is why it remains to be seen when such a decision could be implemented. He argues that the state should retain the right to set minimum standards for hotels, in order for the liberalisation of categorization not to be abused.

Modifications to the categorization system will include the private rental sector as well, announced the Minister, who insists on recategorization of private accommodation facilities, with the aim of increasing the quality of this largest accommodation segment.

This idea was initiated by his predecessor Anton Kliman, who discussed a credit line for family accommodation units with the Croatian Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Minister Cappelli is now negotiating with commercial banks in search of the most favorable financing model.

“Although many rental owners have significantly raised the quality level of their accommodation units, some of the private accommodation facilities do not meet the minimum requirements, unlike hotels which are subjected to recategorization every three years. The family accommodation sector does not have such an obligation. We want to equalise the quality in this segment and set certain standards for everyone,” concluded Tourism Minister Gari Cappelli.


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