Ever wonder why so many British hotels feature, as lobby decor, a shelf of dusty liquor bottles and glasses? Its to earn the hotel an extra star in the official government ratings system. To go from a one-star to a two-star property hotels need to have a lobby bar. So the liquor was set out, though no-one was ever there to mix or sell the stuff.
Well, those bottles are likely going to get drunk in February....but by staff not guests. TNooz is reporting that the government will publish a policy paper next month proposing the elimination of official star ratings.
Its a long overdue move. The official criterion that determine star ratings (in many places, not just the UK) are so entirely divorced from the actual guest experience as to be laughable. Inspectors judge properties on such trivial matters as whether or not there are side tables next to beds. The quality of the welcome, or the handsomeness of the decor is usually deemed too subjective to be judged and incorporated in the ratings.
In making this move the UK government is acknowledging the mighty power of the internet. With detailed, opinionated reviews so widely and freely available (through both guidebook sites and user-generated sites), the need for star ratings has disappeared.
So adios stars, and here's to reading and assessing for ourselves.