I have stayed in many different types of hotels in this country and overseas and have been amazed how standards very, and not just in the service one receives, but in the rooms, facilities and restaurants available. Even within the various grading systems, there is no common agreement. All of which causes confusion.
I believe that Governments should come together and agree a proper set of standards based on a number of factors and not have a grading system. (In Dubai, there is a hotel which is ‘seven stars’ – how meaningless is that!)
A few suggestions:
Rooms – a lot of bedrooms are very cramp and cluttered, especially in Europe. There should be a minimum spacious size set, making allowances as to whether the room has a single, double or twin, and has any other types of bed. There should always be plenty of space to put one’s clothes, along with a desk and two comfortable chairs, as well as ’empty space’ to walk around (without feeling one is falling over the furniture).
En-suite bathroom – all rooms should have one and also be spacious, with shower, toilet and washbasin only or with a bath as well. Soap should be provided.
Equipment and Furniture – a system should be set up to make sure everything is always in working order and meets health and safety standards. They should also meet environmental standards, helping to keep the use of water and cleaning materials to a minimum, and working towards becoming self-sufficient in its energy use.
Staff – all staff should meet training standards in communication skills (including kitchen staff), service skills and any specialist skills depending on the position to be held. This implies bespoke training schemes needed to be set up to bring current staff up to date. The training should be ‘cheap’, so as to encourage plenty of people to want to work in the industry.The hotel should have an ongoing training programme to make sure staff are up to date on legislation affecting the hospitality industry, including human trafficking, drugs and money laundering.
Pay – Creative ways need to be found to increase the pay of staff so as to encourage more people to come into the industry.
Restaurants – should use locally sourced food, cooked and served in hygienic conditions – every establishment should have an internationally recognised inspection award meeting the highest hygiene standards. The restaurant itself should be spacious so that customers are not on top of each other.
Each hotel and restaurant should show signs stating which the various criteria it has met and when the latest inspections took place.
An independent body for each country should be set up that inspects each hotel and restaurant to identify what criteria they meet, according to international standards. If a hotel or restaurant does not meet all the standards, then it will not be allowed to trade. Other bodies can make comments on the service received.
This process should be done over five years and grants given to the smaller hotels to help meet the standards.
I believe such action will improve standards and increase tourism.