Does being graded by an accredited grading assessor give you, as a tourism operator, a competitive edge over your non-graded peers? Definitely – think of it as a seal of approval that offers peace of mind and adds value to your brand.
One of the things that makes travel so exciting is its wild unpredictability. A tourist may have an inkling of what a destination is like from the internet or TV, but tasting the mustard on a hot dog in Central Park is very different to reading a review of the experience. That unpredictability is what makes travel exciting – but when it comes to accommodation, it is comforting for a traveller to know exactly what they’re getting.
In a word, it’s about uniformity. And while that might not sound like the most exciting concept, it’s the bedrock on which an efficient and prosperous tourism industry is built. Being graded by an accredited assessor gives your establishment or venue credibility and a competitive advantage in the marketplace. It means your bed is a safe bet for travellers.
That’s why the work of the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa’s (TGCSA) accredited grading assessors is crucial. Think of it this way: if a visitor fancies a little luxury when they’re on holiday – soft gowns, in-room wi-fi and the option of a good cup of coffee from their filter machine when they wake up – they’d be disappointed to find that the upmarket hotel they had so carefully researched offers none of these amenities. But if the hotel carries a TGCSA star grading, they can rest assured that it will live up to its promises.
TGCSA works with a team of carefully vetted individuals with extensive experience in the hospitality industry to ensure that South African accommodation and conferencing establishments’ standards are not only globally competitive, but also deliver on their promises. The grading assessors pay close attention to detail and know exactly what to look for during the grading process.
The TGCSA ensures that assessors are able to do this through ad hoc workshops and the Annual Assessor Conference, where they receive refresher training and accreditation from the TGCSA. This ensures the consistent quality of graded establishments within the tourism industry and of the assessors themselves.
The TGCSA hosted its Annual Assessor Conference at the Riverside Sun Hotel in Vanderbijlpark from 25 to 27 September 2016, to coincide with Tourism Month. One of the themes at this year’s conference was Universal Accessibility (which focuses on making travelling accessible for all, including people with disabilities and the elderly), in line with the South African Tourism and the National Department of Tourism’s #TourismForAll campaigns.
Assessors use the same principle applied by leading global brands to ensure consistency: wherever in the world you experience the brand, your experience should be the same. When applied to the South African hospitality landscape, this means your TGCSA-graded establishment offers reliable, dependable quality and guests are therefore more likely to return – and spread the word to others.