The Royal Automobile Club of Victoria, or RACV, started in December of 1903 through the efforts of a group of motorists who decided to band together to promote the interests of motor vehicle owners and enthusiasts (AAA Tourism, 2003). Its primary goal was the welfare and information of the motoring public on diverse issues such as safety, auto information, and leisure…
(AAA Tourism 2004)
Vallen and Vallen (2001) observe that ratings and audits for hotels can be a subjective business. He points out that in some countries where the rating systems are handled by the government, there is a great possibility that bribery, politics, and trade association bickering will affect the rating of an establishment. The Star Rating system RACV endorses is handled, not by the government, but by a private enterprise - the AAA Tourism group. This is much akin to the system adopted by the Americans - who use ratings from enterprises such as the American Automobile Association and Mobil. This has the effect of avoiding the political influence of a governmental rating system. The auditing for AAA Tourism's ratings is done by local assessors. Vallen and Vallen further note that local assessors have a tendency to be subjective in their ratings. They observed that these assessors usually award full points for the mere presence of amenities and not the quality of such. In comparison, the guidelines stipulated by the AAAT have a rigid point system that relies heavily on the quality of existing amenities. From observation it may be said that these guidelines serve to mitigate such biases.
One point in the assessment process of AAAT that raises questions is the fact that assessors are required by system to make their visits announced (AAAT 2003). Other rating firms will conduct their assessments anonymously. This is, presumably, to capture the natural atmosphere and typical quality a hotel offers on any given day. The question with planned visits is that the hotel management is given the opportunity to prepare what may be considered as a contrived sense of quality. On the other hand this type of assessment also encourages establishments to constantly improve their facilities by fixed iterations since they are well aware of the schedules of assessment and may well prepare for these ahead of time.
A curiosity in the Star Rating system is the presence of what is called a marginal rating scheme. If the points awarded to an establishment during assessment falls within a predefined 'gray area' then the establishment is awarded that rating. If the establishment is unable to move upwards from this gray area, their rating is adjusted down. This scheme appears to allow a certain sense of leniency. Furthermore, it also seems to serve as an impetus to improve on existing quality to maintain the desired star rating.
The criteria for assessing Star Ratings are quite straightforward. Points ranging from 250 to 1000 are awarded for the set criteria. These criteria are grouped into two categories: Core Business guidelines and Industry guidelines. Included in the Core Business guidelines are the common criteria for hotel assessment such as bedroom accommodation, bathroom, maintenance issues, and general amenities.
The size of the establishment ...
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