Hotel Standards: Top Rating Systems & Industry Best Practices

Hotel Standards: Top Rating Systems & Industry Best Practices

Hotel standards are essential for brands that want to stay ahead of the competition and achieve consistency in service quality. Hoteliers seeking to use external standards to improve their ratings and boost guest confidence can choose from many widely accepted third-party standards, such as Forbes, LQA, and LHW. 

This article is a deep dive into hotel standards and why they are important. It also outlines the most recognized external standards and rating systems in the hospitality industry and explains how hotels can incorporate technology to attain the best ratings.

Hotel Standards: What They Are and Why They Matter

Hotel standards are rules or operational requirements that define the brand image of a hotel or group of hotels. These guidelines usually cover a broad range of areas and outline what customers can expect in terms of customer service and quality of amenities. Critical aspects explored in creating hotel brand standards include architectural design, ambiance, furnishing, customer interaction and service, and management practices.

As the competition for a finite pool of clients continues to increase, leading hotel brands are constantly evolving their approach to customer service to retain their existing client base and attract more visitors. One way of achieving uniformity in quality of service delivery is by incorporating hotel brand standards across all their branches.

Why should you pay attention to and create brand standards for your hotel chain? Here are a few reasons:

1.    Maintain Brand Reputation

For businesses in the hospitality industry, reputation is everything. How customers perceive your hotel is vital for your bottom line and organizational growth. However, building a consistent brand image can be challenging without clearly stated hotel standards.

Furthermore, for individuals who operate a franchise, hotel standards are the most effective way to hit the ground running and ensure that you maintain the global best practices associated with your brand.

2.    Guarantee Customer Loyalty

One of the most demanding aspects of running a hotel is customer retention. The hospitality industry has one of the lowest overall customer retention rate globally, with only 55%. This figure is 25% lower than the average of across all industries. The impact of this statistic is that many hotels are unlikely to see guests return.

By incorporating brand standards, hotels can mitigate this outcome and promote visitor loyalty to the brand by eliminating uncertainty in service delivery. Guests will be more inclined to revisit when they are assured of consistent top-quality treatment and world-class amenities.

3.    Create a Blueprint for Staff Training and Performance

Staff are the pillars of any establishment. Popular hotel chains have hundreds of staff and use hotel standards to ensure that all employees understand the company culture. Regardless of the size of your workforce, hotel standards are critical if you wish to create a thorough system free from operational errors.

4.    Raise Occupancy Rates

While spending thousands of dollars on ads brings customers, nothing beats word-of-mouth recommendations from guests. Hotels with a great reputation tend to have increased occupancy rates and achieve organic growth faster than their counterparts.

An effective way to attract new guests and create a niche in a competitive hospitality industry is to be known for impeccable service across all your branches. Fortunately, you can implement a unified approach and guarantee customer satisfaction by establishing hotel standards.

Industry’s Top Hotel Standards

Before booking accommodation at a hotel, most guests use the hotel’s star rating to determine its quality of service and amenities, cleanliness, and ambiance. Although many of these rating systems exist, the five-star rating system is arguably the most common in the United States.

Graded on a scale of one to five, this rating system gives guests insights into the degree of comfort and luxury they can anticipate from a hotel.

Many organizations, such as Forbes, Leading Hotels of the World (LHW), the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), and the Leading Quality Assurance (LQA) Organization have personalized rating systems. A high rating by any of these reputable authorities is a significant stamp of approval that can influence guests to visit your hotel.

However, to be accredited by these bodies, hotels must comply with strict requirements. Here, we cover some of the most recognized global rating systems and their pre-established hotel standards.

1.    Forbes Standards

Forbes Standards is one of the oldest rating systems, dating as far back as 1958 when it was used as the foremost five-star evaluation system in the hospitality industry in the United States. To receive a high rating from the Forbes Travel Guide, hotels are assessed based on 900 criteria by an independent crop of professional inspectors.

Hotels that successfully scale through this evaluation usually perform meticulous self-inspections using checklists such as the Forbes Hotel Dining Checklist and the Forbes Standards Hotel Housekeeping Checklist. They also carry out diligent staff training and stay updated with the latest best practices.

2.    LQA Standards

Leading Quality Assurance (LQA) is well-known for its quality assurance audits. With sufficient industry experience, having conducted over 25,000 individual hotel service assessments for brands in over 130 countries, they have become a reputable benchmark for performance globally.

The LQA standards involve anonymous on-site assessments of up to 800 criteria across various departments to determine the quality of your hotel. Some areas examined by LQA consultants include restaurant service, reception checks, and dining.

Popular hotel brands such as Rosewood, Pullman, Radisson, and Trident Hotels have used LQA Standards to grow revenues and optimize guest experience. To prepare with internal audits and favorable feedback from LQA auditors, hoteliers can use any of our free hotel inspection checklist templates.

3.    ISO Standards

The International Organization for Standardization is a globally recognized body that creates and publishes international standards to promote best practices and increase business productivity. ISO standards affect food and safety management, quality management, occupational health and safety, and several other areas.

There are many ISO standards for brands in the hospitality industry. However, the most common are ISO 9001, ISO45001, and ISO22000. The ISO does not directly certify hotels. However, hotels can request certification from third-party bodies that will evaluate them based on the ISO criteria.

4.    LHW Standards

The Leading Hotels of the World (LHW) represents the largest exclusive collection of five-star hotels worldwide. It has existed since 1928 and has grown to include over 400 hotels in 80 countries. To become a part of this elite group, hotels must scale through a rigorous evaluation process with up to 1,200 criteria consisting of up to 30 questions for each department.

LHW inspections are carried out anonymously and cover every detail of a hotel’s service, from the front desk to the room service, restaurant, and valet parking. Hotels that successfully complete this assessment must ensure they maintain compliance with best hotel standards because they will be re-evaluated every two to three years.

Tools to improve Hotel Standards

Using simple and clear hotel checklists for frequent self-audits is a time-tested method to ensure consistency. You can create checklists for each department to keep track of standards relevant to their area, daily/weekly tasks and standard operating procedures.

Check out our template library with dozens of hotel audit checklists covering areas such as housekeeping, maintenance, dining, kitchen, health and safety and more.

Achieving high ratings and ensuring compliance with industry-recognized standards such as Forbes, LQA, and LHW is easier when you use digitized checklists. Inspection apps are beneficial for hotels that wish to stay relevant and incorporate global best practices.

These apps simplify the process of working with checklists and enable hoteliers to receive feedback and make changes quickly. Leading hotel management companies like Hilton or Marriott use the GoAudits inspection app to ensure compliance with brand standards and obtain enviable ratings for their portfolio of hotels.

Download the GoAudits inspection app today to join the list of top-rated hotel destinations worldwide.

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