Official accommodation rating system

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Follow the stars

The official accommodation rating system is the best guarantee of quality facilities and service right across Australia.

Beware of the dots. That’s the message from Star Ratings Australia, an organisation that rates accommodation on quality, cleanliness and condition.

Star Ratings Australia general manager Damien Hanger says travellers can find accommodation ratings confusing, especially given so many properties now rate themselves.

“Almost all self-rated properties use dots on a one-to-five scale, while others use descriptions such as, ‘Enjoy five-star service’,” Damien says. “People shouldn’t trust self-ratings; they are no better than a fake photo on a dating website.”

Star Ratings Australia is operated by Australian Motoring Services, a national body owned by RACV and other auto clubs to ensure members get consistent, high-quality products, services and experiences in all states. Star Ratings uses independent assessors to visit properties throughout the country.

Internationally recognised, Star Ratings reflect the cleanliness, quality and condition of guest facilities. A five-star rating, for example, represents extensive facilities and services at a property with excellent design quality and attention to detail. A one-star property represents budget facilities without compromising cleanliness or guest security.

An official Star Rating is determined by more than 200 criteria based on what travellers say is important to them. Properties apply to be Star-Rated, and while they pay to use the trademark, they don’t automatically receive the rating they want.

“We maintain a fierce independence as we produce this information for auto club members,” Damien says. “We have 5000 operators who voluntarily hold themselves to independent quality standards, so customers can trust they are reputable and honest.

“We encourage them to visit the RACV website travel pages, filter to the Star Rating standard they want and kick-start their holiday or getaway planning.”

Star Ratings Australia encourages feed­back. “If a customer finds a problem, we encourage them to take a photo and let us know. We will ‘mystery shop’ the property if the situation warrants.”

Damien advises travellers to remember the following points when searching for accommodation.

Most self-rated properties use dots instead of Stars, but follow the same 1-5 scale, even using half-dots

Don’t trust descriptions that refer to a Star Rating standard (such as “relax in 4.5-star comfort” or “enjoy 5-star service”). Confirm they’ve held their property to Star Rating quality standards.

Star Ratings are awarded to hotels, motels, service apartments, hosted accommodation, caravan-holiday parks and self-catering properties.

The ‘star’ symbols are a licensed trademark and can only be used by properties licensed to use them by Australian Motoring Services, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Australian auto clubs.

Contact Star Ratings Australia if you have problems with the cleanliness or condition of guest facilities.

RACV members can find Star-Rated properties by going to

Written by Allison Harding
February 02, 2015