MIAMI -- A number
of Caribbean hotels may soon be part of a region-wide hotel rating
system thanks to a partnership between Mobil Travel Guide and the
Texas-based FreemanGroup, a hospitality and tourism service
evaluation and improvement firm.
which is part of FreemanGroups new FG Destinations launch -- an initiative headed by
Kedrick Malone, former director of tourism for the British Virgin
Islands -- marks Mobil Travel Guides plans to go worldwide with its
Star rating system.
Mobil Travel Guide
(MTG), which has rated hotels, restaurants and spas in the U.S. and
Canada since 1958 by using teams of anonymous inspectors to
evaluate properties using a star-rating system based on 750
criteria, will use the same rigorous standards for its Caribbean
hotel reviews, according to MTG.
reviews, which will be evaluated by MTGs field inspectors and
undercover service evaluators, will appear on line at www.mobiltravelguide.com, just as they do now for
about 9,000 hotels and restaurants and 300 spas in the U.S. and
MTG inspectors will
visit a property for three days during the inspections. Their
visits will not be announced beforehand nor will the inspectors
reveal their true identities while at the properties, according to
Shane OFlaherty, vice president of quality assurance for Mobil
Our goal is to
ensure that the expectations of the client going to a particular
hotel are met, OFlaherty said. Our reviews will let the consumer
know what to expect before going.
Properties in Aruba
and the British Virgin Islands already have signed on to
participate in the inspection and rating program.
Although a number
of countries have expressed interest in this, I dont have a
regional mandate to go forward, so we will launch the rating system
country by country, said Bill Freeman, founder and CEO, FG
Destinations. I think we could expect to see online ratings for
Aruba and the B.V.I. within 12 months.
The introduction of
the rating system to the Caribbean will enable tourists, meetings
and convention planners and travel agents for the first time to
make an apples to apples comparison of hotels throughout the
region, using an objective system that already is accepted and
trusted, Freeman said.
By leveling the
playing field, smaller, independently-owned properties will have
the opportunity to compete with larger properties on the quality of
service, according to Freeman.
Although there will
be a charge for hotels to be included in the online rating system,
Freeman declined to name a specific amount. We feel that some of
the funds earmarked by governments for destination marketing and
promotion could be utilized for these purposes.
For details on FG
Destinations, visit www.fgdestinations.com.
contact reporter Gay Nagle Myers, send e-mail to [email protected].