Today, Christopher invited me to assist him in the AAA visit to Crystal Creek Meadows (AAATourism run the accommodation star rating scheme in Australia). This accreditation consists of three fundamental categories: facilities and services, cleanliness and quality and condition, of which the business is assessed against.
The combination of ratings for these three categories provides the overall star rating of the business. What makes the star rating scheme different is that an assessor comes to visit every year and spends over 2 hours inspecting every detail of the cottages. The accredition scheme is part of the national TQUAL scheme.
It was a fantastic experience to watch how Crystal Creek Meadows was inspected…..and a tremendous learning curve. It was fascinating to observe first hand all our hard work to make the business presentable on the one hand and then seeing how a professional inspector assesses. This gave me an insight into the difference between an accreditation scheme with an actual site visit verses a self-completion certification programme (which might have an occasional visit).
The visit was nail biting….but successful! We came through with flying colours. Christopher says that it is important to have such an independent assessment to “keep us on our toes”.
What is interesting is that the star scheme basically encourages the accommodation to conduct continuous improvement, but that also means introducing ever more sophisticate appliances and high energy using equipment (electric cook tops and lighting schemes). Can this be a good thing?