The Philippines’ Star Rating System for Accommodation Establishments

AS THE COUNTRY gears up towards the much anticipated ASEAN Integration this year, when we join other ASEAN countries to achieve 100 percent economic integration, the readiness of our business community is a reassurance that the Philippines is indeed

in a better position to embrace this opportunity.

One such example of this preparedness is manifested in the country’s hospitality industry, where the need for the implementation of a consistent rating system has been the subject of a new government effort in partnership with SatisFIN ®, headed by Michelle Perez Patel and Kaiz Patel, experts on customer experience measurement and mystery shopping solutions. The project, officially named, Third Party Assessment for the Implementation of New Tourism Standards for Hotels, Resorts, and Apartment Hotels, conducted by the Department of Tourism (DOT) with SatisFIND® at the helm of

its management, is geared towards the implementation of a uniform and transparent auditing structure for accommodation establishments across the country.

The assessment uses the Star Rating system derived from international best practices to audit hotels, resorts, and apartment hotels based on the availability, quality, and condition of their facilities and services. This establishes a uniform scale to effectively evaluate all DOT-accredited accommodation establishments in the Philippines.

SatisFIND® designed a methodical reporting and assessment process specifically for the DOT, resulting in a system by which both domestic and international tourists can gauge the quality of the hotel they are considering. According to DOT Secretary Ramon Jimenez, Jr., the new standards further aim to boost the hotel and tourism competitiveness of the country, especially in preparation for upcoming important events such as the APEC Summit this year and the ASEAN Tourism Forum in 2016.

This undertaking was kicked off in 2013, commencing with the selection of thirty- five volunteer auditors with expertise and experience in the field of hotel and tourism, and the intention of paying it forward to the country’s tourism industry. After being carefully selected by the DOT to be Third-Party Auditors, they went through a comprehensive four-day training program organized by SatisFIND® and developed by Mr. Geoff Penrose, Director of World Class Tourism and an international expert on star rating systems.

A private gathering hosted by Sec. Jimenez and attended by the Third-Party Auditors and SatisFIND® officially launched the project’s implementation. “Our role here is in pushing it forward. The industry does not have impossible expectations, but it expects to be represented as a people with standards. The better our standards, the more businesses we are going to get, the more jobs it will create,” remarked Sec. Jimenez.

This is a trailblazing effort in the Philippines that the Department of Tourism deems especially relevant today. “There is an automatic notion that accommodation standards are solely designed to raise the caliber of service and the quality of tourism in a particular locale; but the foremost reason why we are doing this is because we want to create an industry with a culture of accountability”, added the secretary. “We want a culture where you cannot promise something that you cannot deliver. This is something that we tend to miss in the business of standards and accreditation. In the end, it’s all

about transparency – plain and basic honesty”.

Over 500 accommodation establishments including hotels, resorts, and apartment hotels all over the country were evaluated with the new star rating system. The criteria for assessment included Arrival and Departure, Public Areas, Bedrooms, Bathrooms, Food and Beverage, Amenities and Services, and Business Practices. The epartment of Tourism will publish the star rating results in its official website.

This milestone in partnership with SatisFIND® is a triumph of collaborative and altruistic work between the government and the private sector towards the creation of a system that empowers the stakeholder, the customer, and the industry as a whole. “This project can only go so far. This is pioneering work because now, the Philippines has the opportunity to actually leap ahead of neighboring nations by creating a reputation for transparency and reliability in standard ratings better than everyone else in Southeast Asia”, said Sec. Jimenez.

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