HOTEL CLASSIFICATION NOT FREE OF CONTROVERSY AS SOME MISS OUT ON FIVE STAR STATUS
(Posted 20th November 2016)
The Villa Rosa Kempinski Hotel, the Radisson Blu Nairobi Hotel, the Sarova Stanley, Hemingways Nairobi and the Fairmont The Norfolk, among others, have according to information from the Kenyan Tourism Regulatory Authority just made the cut in the latest round of grading and classification exercises in Nairobi to be awarded the coveted five star rating.
A total of eight establishments in the city were deemed fit to put five stars on their front door while a number of others attained a four star rating, among them the Windsor Golf and Country Club in line with this correspondent’s own assessment, leaving room for improvement towards the highest classification in future reviews.
Other hotels now handed a four star rating are among others the Boma Hotel, the Sarova Panafric and the Mayfair Hotel.
Still to be classified are the Nairobi Serena Hotel, beyond doubt a candidate for a five star rating, but also the InterContinental Hotel in Nairobi and even the Nairobi Hilton, the latter of which must no doubt be worried given the lack of major refurbishments in ages.
Other parts of Kenya have also seen the team of evaluators swarm out to assess hotels, resorts and safari lodges in different parts of the country, however missing the deadline of October which was set by the heads of state of the Northern Corridor Integration project countries Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya.
Rwanda and Uganda are still said to be evaluating hospitality businesses across the country, attributed to both lack of funding as well as a shortage of trained and qualified assessors and evaluators but also to a good part as a result of simply starting the exercise late.
Some industry stakeholders in Nairobi, as was the case when the initial list of rankings for coast resorts and safari lodges and camps was published, had however different opinions, several of them pointing to the rankings of international hotel booking sites like TripAdvisor, Bookings.com and others. There some of the establishments now given five stars were ranked as lower by guest feedback while some of those given four stars were regularly found with higher rankings on such public sites.
Justified or not, it is clear that the TRA needs to take such observations and comments into account when reviewing the present round of grading and classification and incorporate valid critique into future review exercises to make the entire setup more credible and more broadly ‘owned‘ by stakeholders rather than giving them the feeling of imposing results on them.