Hotels in Qatar are set to begin evaluations according to a new hotel grading and classification system released this month by Qatar Tourism Authority.
The system, which aims to make hotel ratings more fair and transparent, is being released after two months of testing and six of development in collaboration with the local industry, hoteliers and international experts.
Hotels and hotel apartments will in future be graded together on the same ‘star-rating’ system, based on sets of criteria that evaluate their public areas, guest rooms, guest bathrooms, quality of service, staff development, food & beverage and even room amenities. For the first time in Qatar, hotels will also be evaluated based on their environmental sustainability management.
According to QTA, the Authority will guide hoteliers through the process of implementing required changes needed for their hotels to maintain their star ratings, ‘working collaboratively with them to ensure they make the improvements at a reasonable pace and with minimum disruption to their business.’
Uniquely, this new system holds developers, owners, management and operators equally accountable for the property’s classification. Changes will take time, but gradually we are paving the way for a more sustainable, environmentally-friendly, and diverse hospitality sector.’
Hotels will be starting the assessment process through a digital ‘self-assessment’ module online. Once this is completed, a formal inspection is arranged with QTA, which dispatches members of its inspection team to verify the results, and to ensure hotels have either made the changes required of them, or have put into place an agreed schedule for the rectification of any deficits in facilities and services. Hotels that do not make the needed improvements, or chose not to, will then be re-graded – this could involve them losing a star.
Among the system’s unique features is a built-in ‘guest experience index’ which analyses ratings and reviews on 130 hotel review websites including TripAdvisor and Booking.com for incorporation into the hotel’s final grading report.
The system allows hotel inspectors to record photographic evidence and monthly guest experience feedback, as well as keeping track of all interactions between QTA and the hotels, such as commitments to certain improvements, re-inspection agreements and related deadlines.
Hotels that need to make extensive structural changes that involve work on more than 40% of their infrastructure will be given until 31 December 2020 to complete the changes before they are regraded. QTA has also reached out to developers of hotels that are in the pipeline for 2016 to ensure that standards are in place before any new establishments open.
QTA works with partners and stakeholders to ensure that tourism and hotel establishments operate at the highest standards while promoting and perpetuating Qatari culture and heritage.