On Friday 30 November, Qualmark announced changes to its accommodation categories with the introduction of three new categories to replace the current Guest & Hosted category.
The change follows a comprehensive review and consultation process, led by a steering group made up of leading industry representatives.
The new Qualmark categories, which come into effect on 1 March 2013, are Bed & Breakfast, Boutique & Lodge and New Zealand Luxury Lodge. Over a period of 12 months, Guest & Hosted properties will be transitioned into one of the three new categories.
The review of the Qualmark Guest & Hosted category was undertaken to enhance the accuracy of the Qualmark categories for both consumers and licence holders, while allowing greater distinction for New Zealand's unique accommodation providers.
Qualmark's General Manager Tim Keeling says that the three new categories would provide properties a more specific and relevant customer facing recognition of their quality.
"From industry feedback we received it was evident that the Guest & Hosted category was overly broad, covering a wide and diverse range of accommodation types - with consumers and travel trade looking for real meaning in category definition."
"During the industry consultation phase of the review, we received strong support for both the naming and criteria enhancements. This feedback from industry has allowed us to further refine the categories, which are now undergoing final assessment trials to ensure the specific details of each category's criteria are effective and measurable."
Tourism New Zealand General Manager Australia Tim Burgess notes that the change is of benefit to the international trade.
"Providing further clarity to Qualmark categories in today's environment can only be a good thing. I see this as a positive step to ensuring trade and customers have a clear expectation of the accommodation they are booking."
Prior to the introduction of the new categories, Qualmark will be working with online distribution partners including www.newzealand.com, www.aatravel.com and RTO websites, to ensure they effectively utilise the new Qualmark categories in promoting quality assured properties.
If you require further information about the review or any of the new Qualmark categories, please contact Qualmark on 0800 782 562.