To be or not to be…self rated? For an overview from the perspective of a B&B operator, Bed & Breakfast Association’s president Kathryn Officer dedicated her column to it…and here it is!
Last week, we shared our article about the comparative benefits of a Qualmark rating versus self-rating or relying or consumer rating. We heard from industry bodies and accommodation providers.
It’s impossible to look at the pros and cons of this question from just the angle of a B&B owner without looking at it from a traveller’s perspective.
As every owner has different values, ideas and assessment process which makes up their self-rating, I believe the practice of self-rating has no value whatsoever and only confuses and at worst, often misleads. Stars should help travellers by giving an indication of the levels of comfort, facilities, service and even price however properties that self-rate almost always over estimate their rating!
Qualmark (to be or not to be)
Owned by Tourism New Zealand, Qualmark is the only official star rating system in New Zealand. A Qualmark star rated property is usually assessed and rated every two years with a key benefit being listed at the top of accommodation listings on Tourism New Zealand’s website.
Conversely, whilst the Bed & Breakfast Association New Zealand does not have a star rating system it offers a quality assurance programme as part of its membership. It is the only national association working exclusively to support bed and breakfast operators and represents members’ interests in areas such as advocacy, advice and support. We empower our members to provide first class services by the provision of best practice guidelines, business support and training.
The information we provide to members of the Bed & Breakfast Association about a Qualmark star rating, is that it is very much a personal choice and we recommend that our members talk to others in their region so that they can weigh up the benefits they are likely to gain. We believe that membership of the Bed & Breakfast Association is one way for B&Bs to get the ever-important quality assurance they need, as their membership is dependent upon a successful assessment. Those B&Bs that choose to have a Qualmark Licence are providing an additional assurance to their customers that they take their business seriously and that their B&B is a professional tourism business.
While I am a strong advocate for a star-rating system (particularly in terms of acting as a “health check” for the business) they don’t stack up on their own. While any star-rating system acts as a good guide to the level of comfort, facilities, service and quality a traveller requires, a traveller could risk disappointment if they rely solely on a star rating. They will get a better overall picture of the property they want to book by considering both a star rating as well as online reviews.
From a B&B owner’s perspective I can honestly say that being Qualmark Licenced does not give me bookings. While my Qualmark rating might be seen as important by prospective guests, and may guide them in their decision-making process, it does not make them push the BOOK NOW button. It is my online reputation that gives me bookings; it’s only when the traveller is satisfied by my online reviews that they proceed with a booking.
The benefit I value the most from my Qualmark licence (as with membership of the Bed & Breakfast Association where my membership is dependent upon compliance with the rigorous assessment programme) is the assurance I get from meeting the requirements of providing high professional standards and that I comply with all the relevant laws, regulations and bylaws affecting home hosting.
I look upon a Qualmark licence as my annual B&B health check. Just as I regard the annual cost of the Qualmark licence to be a very important business expense, so too is my annual subscription to the Bed & Breakfast Association NEW ZEALAND. Both offer valuable benefits that gives my business a greater chance of success. They both offer the vital ingredients that help maintain and improve business performance of my B&B.