With over 10 million foreign visitors reported to have come into South Africa in 2016 and predictions by PwC that the country’s hotel industry is set for steady growth in the next five years – it’s evident that there are opportunities for tourist accommodations to increase their occupancy rates and income.
To help accommodation businesses including hotels, BnBs, guest houses, lodges, caravan, camping and conferencing venues to distinguish themselves, the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa (TGCSA), a quality assurance body, wants these types of businesses to get themselves graded.
The grading of establishments is done by TGCSA, which forms part of South African Tourism. Qualified grading assessors make their assessments based on a number of factors including amenities and facilities available, food, beverages and location, among others. The establishment is then given stars (one to five) corresponding with the quality of their facilities and services. They also receive a TGCSA Star insignia to display in their establishments.
While getting graded is not a requirement, it is recommended by TGCSA because of the competitive advantage it can offer businesses.
Establishments that get graded stand to benefit more than ungraded ones, says Darryl Erasmus, chief quality assurance officer at TGCSA.
“[The] research we’ve done in the past shows graded establishments are a lot more likely to be profitable because the business and owners are a lot more structured in their approach,” says Erasmus.
We answer some of the biggest questions about the grading process and outline how tourism SMEs stand to benefit.
Grading refers to the assessment of your tourism SME. Accommodation businesses are rated according to the star method. The stars range from 1 to 5; 1 being entry-level, affordable with basic options and 5 for luxury options which are more service-focused and guest-focused.
No, getting graded is not a requirement, but it is recommended by TGCSA for tourism establishments.
Only TGCSA accredited grading assessors, based all over South Africa, can conduct assessments.
All establishments have to complete the following steps:
Graded tourism SMEs are placed on a benefit structure called the basket of benefits, which includes benefits relevant to small to medium enterprises.
Once you receive your star, it’s valid for one year upon which you will again be assessed by a TGCSA assessor.
Membership fees for 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2018 range from R2 160 to R12 994, depending on the type and size of your establishment. A joining fee of R207 is also required.
*All information courtesy of the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa (TGCSA).