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Quality as seen by the consumer drives STAR rating scheme review towards 2009

September 01, 2008
Quality as seen by the consumer drives STAR rating scheme review towards 2009

Quality as seen by the consumer is now key driver in the current review of the accommodation STAR rating system AAA Tourism National Manager STAR Ratings Paul Baumgartner told VicParks conference delegates in Albury today.

In what some regard as a shift in the Auto Club culture. Quality as seen by the consumer now translates into facilities, cleanliness, services, appearance and condition.

This leads to primary STAR rating. Also AAA Tourism recognises caravan parks as its clients. So as the STAR review works toward a delivery which is scheduled for mid 2009 the caravanning industry and AAA Tourism are talking through issues.

The scheme review timeline is - field testing continues into October and industry will comment on the complete set of STAR rating standards in November December.

It is too early to say whether caravan parks will stay at current ratings, but a lack of rating consistency is recognised across Australia, Paul Baumgartner said.

One national rating would have been great, but there is so much variation that you have to have more information. One national rating is not a reality; you have to go to rating in general and then drill down, he said.

This is more complex, but it is the best we can produce. Consistency will be built on minimum standards which are important to the consumer, he said. Minimum standards must be met at all STAR levels.

Appearance and facilities will be assessed as part of the STAR process.

Kel Arnott President Victorian Caravan Parks Association
Kel Arnott President Victorian Caravan Parks Association

This includes recognition by AAA Tourism that specific niche marketing by properties can produce a look (appearance) which is valued within that market.

So a retro or heritage appearance in this context will receive a positive assessment from assessors trained to deliver a consistent response.

Asked if properties could receive a printout out of the assessors response at the end of an assessment Paul Baumgartner said he believed this had to happen.

There is, however, an IT component. We need to know whether this is a print-off or an email. We are looking at options, he said.

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