When going on holiday, booking accommodation can be a daunting experience. Images of rooms and facilities may shimmer online, but in reality, you could be staying in the sticks. 

But looking for accommodation has never been easier, thanks to the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa’s (TGCSA) star-grading system – the hospitality industry’s mark of quality.

New grading criteria keep up with trends

The grading criteria were recently augmented to keep up with the latest global tourism and technological trends. Three new categories have been added: apartment hotels, small hotels and boutique hotels.

According to TGCSA’s Chief Quality Assurance Officer, the new criteria ensure South Africa remains internationally benchmarked and thus competitive as a destination. One of the key reasons behind the triennial review of our criteria, is the impact that technological enhancements are having on the hospitality sector and the overall guest experience.  For instance, the provision and access to Wi-Fi is fast becoming a very basic need and guest prerequisite at any category of accommodation.”

Guests will be guaranteed that higher graded establishments have technological capabilities to suit both business and leisure travellers. Tech developments in the hospitality industry allow guests to connect with the hotel service outlets using new platforms and applications as well as the ability to make outgoing calls using applications linked to WiFi.

Rewarding responsible establishments

With over 5 200 properties graded across the country, there are a variety of options with availability seldom an issue. In addition, TGCSA has introduced the Responsible Tourism accolade for establishments that abide by sustainable responsible tourism practices.

“We are of the opinion that limiting the impact of tourism on the environment is in the interest of all concerned and it was on this premise that the TCGSA undertook to include an accolade to recognise properties that have adopted and are practicing Responsible Tourism practices,” said Erasmus.

Travel agents trust the grading system

When booking for clients, travel agents look for tried and trusted establishments that have TGCSA star grading.

Erasmus said the grading level awarded to properties annually are by far the most important for travel agents when recommending an establishment to a customer. 

This indicates the type of product that will be encountered as well as the levels of product quality, variety of facilities and service standards to be expected by your guests.

“We are invigorated to see that our contribution, through the provision of our world-class grading system, continues to assist trade in improving the collective positioning of South Africa as a quality destination and a leading player on the global stage,” said Erasmus.