Why You Should Grade Your Guest House
There are many reasons for getting your Guest House graded:
- The attraction of guests
- Many guests use grading as a search term
- Guests see this as a good indicator of the type of accommodation they will experience
- It is viewed as an indicator of professionalism and quality support from the grading council for marketing of your establishment
- Owner benefits
- The higher the grade the more you can charge
- Lifts profile of site
- Allows pricing benchmarking
- Provides template for running of Guest House
- Increases property value in event of sale
Who Are The TGCSA?
The Tourism Grading Council of South Africa (TGCSA) was established in September 2000 by the Minister of Environmental Affairs & Tourism with broad representation from the tourism industry. The TGCSA mandate is to develop and manage a framework for grading across the entire tourism industry. To date, close on 5 000 accommodation establishments and over 40 conference venues have been graded.
What Do They Do?
We have all seen the brass plagues boasting of a number of stars outside Guest Houses and displayed on websites but what actually does this mean?
Star grading is an independent assessment of what guests can expect to find at an accommodation establishment or conference venue. It’s based on the overall quality and takes into account the facilities you’d expect to accompany a particular star grading.
The Star Grading runs from one to five stars, five stars denoting the very best of quality. Grading takes into account the type of accommodation – hotel, guest house, country house, bed & breakfast, backpacker & hostelling, camping & caravan park or conference facilities (Meetings, Exhibitions, or Special Events MESE).
How Do You Get Assessed?
TGCSA together with assessors, who are independent entrepreneurs, carry out the actual grading process of your Guest House establishment.
They look at a number of criteria that can be split into two categories: –
It should be noted that in order to achieve any grading, Guest Houses need to have in place the correct full public liability Guest House insurance. If you do not have or are unsure whether you have this enquire here for more details.
Minimum Requirements set out and define the lowest quality standard demanded throughout each area of the establishment and it will be these areas that will be selected for review. For example a description, under Housekeeping reads: All rooms, venues, fittings, furniture and equipment should be kept clean and well maintained. These written explanations should provide an understanding of how and what is expected, in each area, from the establishment. The Minimum Requirement document contains a description of each area within the establishment and those will be the areas that the assessor will be judging, when making a final recommendation. In short, this document is essentially a detailed guide as to what the management or owner of an establishment needs to have in place in order to begin to offer a quality product or service offering.
These however are only the Minimum Requirements. In order to gain a better understanding of the higher levels of quality, one needs to turn to the Grading Criteria.
The Grading takes a much more in-depth look at each aspect and area of the establishment service offering. There are separate documents for each category and definitions as to the nature of the different types of establishments. Each Grading Criteria document provides a score for each defined standard, from one to ten – unacceptable to excellent. Assessors then use a percentage calculation that provides the guideline for each grading band (1 to 5 Star). It is by working through each definition that one is able to make an assessment of the overall total grading of the establishment i.e. the award of the star rating.
Once the management or owner of an establishment is satisfied that they can match the standards covered in these documents then application for grading can begin. There are certain business, license and safety documents that will need to be completed prior to an assessor confirming state of readiness to be graded.