The Visit England Grading Scheme: An investigation into its effectiveness
This paper aims to investigate the effectiveness of the Visit England grading scheme, with considerations as to whether it is becoming outdated in the hotel selection process due to increasing use of CIT. The objectives of the paper are to investigate the scheme; its classifications and the history behind it, to examine alternative methods of hotel selection and come to a conclusion of whether the scheme can work alongside these methods as a complimentary process or whether the scheme will become outdated in favour of the alternative online methods. The paper offers recommendations for Visit England, for guests and for hoteliers on how to manage the two methods.
The literature review begins by discussing the underlying issue of customer satisfaction and measurement; considering Heskett et al’s (2008) service-profit chain, the importance and benefits of benchmarking, (Rimmington and Kozak (1998), and Smith et al (1993)) before focusing on its role within the hospitality industry. It goes on to discuss the history and classifications of Visit England and the findings from studies into which aspects need to be included within a hotel grading scheme. Also included is literature on alternative methods of selection, involving an article by Sylt (2009) which argues that the scheme has become eroded by technology.
The paper gathers information using a questionnaire, distributed using a stratified sample of 120 people. Two semi structured interviews were then carried out to further investigate areas of interest. From this research there is a clear indication of online methods being the favoured hotel selection process across the age groups, with only 21 people answering that they are aware of the Visit England grading scheme, and only 12 people answering that they would be put off by a hotel not having a Visit England classification. Findings show that hotel selection is often carried out by the use of a search engine which then directs people to the hotel’s own website, as well as the younger participant visiting trip advisor.
The paper comes to the conclusion that the two methods can complement each other, however important recommendations are made to Visit England to publicise the scheme and make it more widely known. The paper also gives recommendations for the hotels that are part of the Visit England scheme, advising that the rating can be used as a marketing tool, however online alternatives cannot be ignored. Hotels that are not part of the Visit England grading scheme need to have alternative successful online methods in place to fully market their hotel.Key Words
Hotel Grading Schemes
Guest satisfaction in hotels
Online hotel reviews