On an industry level, this is a big deal. It would appear that Host Accommodation, a leading New Zealand marketing chain is reacting to a rapidly changing marketplace by turning its back on Qualmark and will be diverting energies into its own quality management systems.
Marketing chains are a big part of Qualmark's accommodation client-base. We predict that this bold announcement by Host Accommodation will encourage other marketing chains to leave the security blanket of Qualmark and become fast-followers.
We assume that individual Host Accommodation properties will be free to carry-on with their old-school Qualmark star rating along with the Enviro-award if they choose. And with the possible late entry of a Qualmark competitor, it's interesting to note that accommodation properties that persist with static, onsite inspections may soon have at least two star-rating agencies to choose from.
Host Accommodation will rise above industry-based banal circular conversations about static standards set by a detached centralised rating agency in favour of listening to the dynamic wants and needs of the customer.
Host Accommodation appear to be looking to the future by catching a new-wave of businesses that are using guest feedback to improve products and services.
In an article titled "Social Intelligence Trends for 2013," the social market intelligence group said:
"The explosion of online customer feedback is transforming how businesses will use social intelligence to deliver a quality customer experience." newBrandAnalytics predicts that businesses will stop investing in solicited surveys in 2013 due to consistent, reliable and free customer feedback coming from the web via guest reviews. The company also predicts that star ratings will become a thing of the past, as they are being recognized by consumers and businesses as "misleading, unreliable and not actionable." Instead, "consumers will seek verbatim reviews in making their purchase decisions; businesses will decipher the true meaning and uncover important themes discussed in these unstructured reviews to drive improvements."In the accommodation industry, there's no more exact or tougher quality assessor than the customers that stay every night of the year. Market leaders, Host Accommodation seems to think so too...
"16th April 2013
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
HOST ACCOMMODATION DROP QUALMARK
After reviewing current trends, customer feedback and consulting with its member properties, The Host Accommodation Group have made the decision to drop the compulsion for their properties to be licence holders with New Zealand tourism’s official quality assurance organisation, Qualmark NZ."It's a decision that Host Accommodation hasn't taken lightly" said Chris Lee, Host Accommodation General Manager."After exhaustive consultation and research, we've decided that our network of motels, motor lodges, motels & apartments should individually decide for themselves if they wish to be star-rated by Qualmark".Mr Lee believes that a hard core of Host Accommodation properties will initially maintain their Qualmark licence, but effective immediately, a Qualmark licence will no longer be a compulsory requirement to become a member of the Host Accommodation network of properties throughout New Zealand.Quality will continue to be a cornerstone of Host Accommodation and this will be vigorously monitored and supported through various in-house programmes that include using mystery shoppers and dynamic guest feedback."The world has moved on from quality being measured by static onsite inspections from clipboard carrying inspectors" Mr Lee said. "The customer is now king and it is important for us to be attuned to their requirements and changing demands"."Our customers are extremely important to us and only they can tell us what we are doing right and how we can improve".Mr Lee concluded "Listening directly to our customers will assist Host Accommodation to remain New Zealand's leading accommodation group".More information:Chris Lee – General Manager0508 919293 or www.hostaccommodation.co.nz