Abu Dhabi: Abu Dhabi will be the first in the world to introduce a password-protected online classification track and trace system for hotels, which will help bring transparency across the hospitality sector.
In its efforts to improve the hospitality sector's performance, the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA), the emirate's tourism regulatory body, will monitor the hotel classification ratings system through strict random inspections throughout the year.
Four to ten inspectors will pay random visits to hotels to make sure they follow comprehensive mandatory standards set by the ADTA.
Some of these criteria includes: environmental issues; the presence of at least two rooms for people with special needs; consideration for cultural tourism sustainability and proper implementation planning.
"We have already tested the E-Classification system, which includes live videos and a check-list of each and every single detail in the room and across the whole hotel. Inspection includes the slightest details such as dust around frames, and under the beds and/or looking for cracks on the walls," Nasser Al Reyami, director for Tourism Standards at the ADTA, told Gulf News during the sidelines of the first hotel classification star signage that was held yesterday.
Hotels need to score a minimum of 799 out of 900 to pass the inspection. "If they go under that their star rating will immediately decrease," he said.
Inspectors will be spending at least two days in each hotel after booking a room either online or via phone. "We have set essential and necessary criteria that the hotel has to meet to qualify for a specific star rating. Inspection will be an ongoing practice as we would like hotels to strictly abide by quality and the emirate to stand out among the tourism industry worldwide," Al Reyami said, adding that 99 per cent improvement is expected among the hotel industry with the implementation of the system.
"A manual has been designed and handed to concerned hotel managers to identify with the problems that may occur. It took two years to design the manual," said Al Reyami.
ADTA's Chairman, Shaikh Sultan Bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, also unveiled the first new graphic star signage at the five-star Emirates Palace as the classification system began to roll out to help classify hotels on a sliding scale of one to five stars, and hotel apartments as either deluxe, superior or standard.
The signs will be placed in 110 hotels and will classify 63 hotels and 47 hotel apartment facilities across Abu Dhabi.
"It's all about standing out in a manner consistent with Abu Dhabi's highly respectable style," Shaikh Sultan said.