Official rankings on way at last for Israeli hotels

By Sharron Livingston, June 20, 2013

Israel is set to introduce a ranking system for its hotels after two decades in which companies decided for themselves how to rate the accommodation they provided.

Israel’s Tourism Minister Uzi Landau has been working to inject greater transparency and competition into the hotel industry, and this week his ministry said that within a few months a company would be chosen to operate the new system.

The system being proposed, HotelStars ranking, is accepted throughout Europe. The Tourism Ministry said that it would be up and running by the beginning of 2014.

Hotel ratings are to be based on 267 criteria, including quality of breakfast, the provision of fitness rooms and children’s activities, and the standard of swimming pools.

For 40 years the Tourism Ministry awarded hotel rankings but this was stopped in 1992 because the system was ineffective. Since then, hotels have continued to advertise a star rating but without any independent assessments.

Industry insiders have mixed feelings about the proposed system. Rafi Baeri, vice president of sales and marketing at Dan Hotels Israel, said: “In general we feel that the star system is an outdated tool. Most tour operators and internet travel agencies rate hotels based on their own experience and clients’ feedback. Nevertheless, should the government proceed with plans for rating Israeli hotels, Dan Hotels will gladly co-operate.

“Any rating that will take into account the physical elements of the hotel alongside the human aspect of service and the quality of food, is positive and will add another dimension of knowledge for our customers.”
A record 3.5 million tourists visited Israel in 2012 . The aim is to surpass this figure and it is thought that a rating system will help by bringing down prices.

Last updated: 2:45pm, June 20 2013