Do You Speak Hotel Language?
Friday, 22nd August 2008
With so many acronyms and hotel terminology flying around the hotel industry it can become very confusing for the average customer.

Hotel price comparison website HotelsCombined.com has collated the top industry terms customers query.
1. Star Rating

The star rating system is a widespread classification system for hotels where luxury is indicated by a higher star rating. The AAA and their affiliated bodies use diamonds instead of stars to define hotel rating levels.

In some countries, there is an official body with standard criteria for classifying hotels, but in many others there is none. There have been attempts to unify the classification system so that it can become internationally recognized at a reliable standard but large differences exist in the quality of accommodation across countries.

In recent times, there has been an expansion beyond the traditional "five star" rating which has led customers to question whether it is simply marketing hype.

  • Six to seven star hotel example: Burj Al Arab Hotel Dubai
  • Five star hotel example: Le Meridien Hotel Nice
  • Four star hotel example: Hilton Waterfront Beach Resort Hotel
  • Three star hotel example: Holiday Inn Express Stratford-London
  • Two star hotel example: Formula 1 Kings Cross Motel Sydney
  • One star hotel example: Super 8 Hotel Hangzhou Hi-Tech
2. Best Available Rate (BAR)

Best Available Rate (BAR) is a pricing mechanism introduced by Hotel Marketers in an attempt to reduce customer confusion and guarantee the lowest available rate for each night stay.

Where it starts to become confusing to customers is that several accommodation booking websites advertise BAR for the same hotel at different rates.

Furthermore it is evident that consumers cannot count on these guarantees as most guarantees must be carefully documented if consumers are planning to file a claim and even then it can be difficult to extract the guarantee.
3. On Request Availability

Most customers expect instant confirmation when making a reservation online. Yet there are many online travel agents which conduct business by means of "on request" availability.

An "on request" booking is when a customer submits a reservation form and payment details to an online travel agent who then contacts the hotel to confirm the customers' reservation.

If the hotel confirms the customers' reservation request, the customers' credit card will be charged and the customer will receive a confirmation email. If the room(s) is not available, the customer will be informed as soon as possible by email and the customers' credit card will not be charged.
4. Cancellation fees

If a customer wishes to cancel their booking, a cancellation fee may apply in accordance to company policy. What customers get confused about is how much cancellation fees can vary, depending on where the customer made the booking and the lead time of their check-in date.

A customers' cancellation of their reservation may result in a fee up to the full cost of their stay. It is recommended that customers' pay attention to the fine print to understand what the actual cancellation fee may be.

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