Kevin Eagan - Apr 29, 2024
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The Hotelstars Union (HSU), the European association for harmonized hotel classification, has approved new criteria for awarding hotel stars from 2025–2030. All 21 member countries review the hotel classification criteria every five to six years to modernize them according to the needs of guests and the market. This ensures that industry standards keep pace with the changing challenges and dynamics of the hospitality industry.

The current update of the HSU criteria catalog resulted from twelve months of intensive work and collaborative effort. The process involved reaching a consensus and harmonizing the positions of all HSU member associations, a complex undertaking that required significant effort and cooperation. This bottom-up approach ensures that the updated hotel classification criteria are recognized and valued by guests and hoteliers alike, making it the strength of the system.

The new classification catalog is a step towards a more sustainable, efficient, and guest-centric hospitality industry. It has been streamlined from 247 to 239 criteria, removing some that had become less important and consolidating others to simplify the system. This update reflects the HSU’s commitment to evolving industry standards that meet the changing needs of guests and the market.

Some notable changes include introducing recommendations for mattress cleaning to meet increased hygiene requirements and extend the mattresses' lifespan to positively impact sustainability. The rooms will no longer provide sewing and shoe polishing supplies. An additional adjustment of bed linen and towels will only be made at the guest's request.

Hotels can collect additional points if they measure their carbon footprint according to international standards. Reception and room service opening hours have been shortened to accommodate European labor shortages.

The new criteria also considered digitalization. The new classification catalog has introduced the possibility of fully automatic check-in and check-out services replacing employee reception services, particularly in categories 1* and 2*. Self-service kiosks have also become widespread and are now included in the new 4-star criteria, providing an alternative to minibars, maxibars, and room service.

HSU has revised the hotel classification criteria, considering the upcoming EU legislation and the evolving needs of the hospitality industry. This approach gives EU hotels—from one to five stars—the confidence to build on these criteria over the next five years. The HSU member countries have until January 1, 2025, to implement the catalog at the national level, ensuring a smooth transition and adaptability to the new standards.

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