Harmonising Classification

Streamlining the accommodation market in Europe

With more than 200,000 hotels in Europe, the past decade has seen major changes across the content and UK with regard to the streamlining of classification systems.

Since 2004, HOTREC(1) and its associations have been working on bringing the hotel classification systems in various European countries closer to one another. Under the patronage of HOTREC – Hospitality Europe, the hotels associations of Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland thus created the Hotelstars Union. Since then, the following countries joined the star family: Estonia (2011), Latvia (2011), Lithuania (2011), Luxembourg (2011), Malta (2012), Belgium (2013), Denmark (2013) and Greece (2013).

15 countries are now participating. The joint hotel classification is a dynamic system. Its criteria and procedures are checked regularly and developed further according to the expectations of the guests. For example, as customer needs and technologies develop, aspects such as internet accessibility are becoming increasingly important alongside the more traditional ones, e.g. comfort of sleep. The revised and tested criteria for hotels in all categories are gradually being implemented in the individual Hotelstars Union member countries from 2015 onwards.


According to a recent survey on behalf of the DEHOGA (German) national association on the relevancy of varied sources of information for choosing a hotel, 47% of private travellers surveyed orientate themselves towards the official star classification, a rise of more than 6 percentage points compared to the TNS survey of 2008. In the same period, online reviews expectably rose to the second most popular source of information for hotel guests following personal recommendations of friends and acquaintances.

More information on Hotelstars Union: www.hotelstars.eu

1. HOTREC represents the hotel, restaurant and café industry at European level, bringing together 42 national associations representing the sector in 27 different European countries.