Regarding Italy, law differentiates the hotel services in:
- hotels: receptive services open to the public, with unitary administration providing lodging, possibly food and other accessory services, thanks to the reservation of rooms in hotels;
- motel: hotels particularly equipped for the stop and services of vehicles or crafts assuring them repair services and fuel supply;
- villages hotel: hotels that, in a single area, give centralized services to users of residence units located in more establishments.
This distinction, besides substituting the traditional structure among Hotels, pensions, and inns, cancels the distribution in the traditional categories (from first to fourth), and hold the same rules regarding reservation of rooms in hotels.
The law stipulates that hotels be marked, in descending order, from 5, 4, 3, 2 or 1 star. The enclosed denomination "luxury" is also stipulated, for five-stars hotels classified according to typical standards of international class.
Local authorities must fix the criteria for the classification of the receptive structures keeping in mind the dimensions, the structural requirements, the services offered and the qualification of specialists, the criteria and modalities in the reservation of rooms.
The law limited itself to set down the minimum requirements that should have the receptive services to be classified as hotels.
- receptive capacity not lower than seven rooms;
- presence of at least a hygienic service for every ten beds;
- a bathroom with hot and cold current water for each room;
- a room for common use;
- technological facilities and an appropriate amount of qualified specialists for the running of the installation.
To determine the categories of hotels, that is, to assign the adequate number of stars, it's used a punctuation expressing the quality of the best offerings of the facilities, the services the hotels are able to guarantee, the location, etc.
Also in this case, as explained before for travel agencies, local laws are quite uniform and use very similar features, as well as for the reservation of rooms.
They dispose, for one-star Hotels to have characteristic for which at least thirty points must have been assigned, for two-stars at least eighty points, until the 340 points of five-stars luxury hotels.
The private bathroom in all the rooms vouches 30 points, if 90% of the rooms is endowed with bathroom 25 points must be assigned, if the rooms with bathroom are the 70% the points must be 20, etc.
The night porter vouches 10 points, as well as the 24-hours room services; direct line telephone in each room gives 8 points, the same thing for the telex; color television in each room accounts 5 points, black and white television 4; for the covered pool 10 points, the uncovered one 5; and so forth.
The classification of hotels is made on the request of the hotel itself, which should indicate, in its application, the punctuation reached, result of the sum of parameters they offer.
The entity to which the request is made varies from Region to Region.
In certain cases it is the Province, in others the Region itself.
The assignment of the category is done after a confirmation made by the competent organization.
The request is renewed every five years.
Therefore it could be considered that an objective classification as indicated always allows equal evaluations and that hotel classifications are assigned in uniformly.
In reality it doesn't work that way: hotels with the same number of stars present, frequently, different qualitative standards.
The reasons are many. The hotel classification must be renovated every five years, it has been said. Many people considered this a very long period of time, during which the initially available equipment can decrease.
If televisions sets in the rooms break and are not repaired, if the minibars are moved, if elevators stop, if the garage closes, if the reservation of rooms is inaccurate and causes discontentment, these facts can be increased over the following years.
In many Regions the controls that must be done, either when the category should be assigned or when must be verified that the conditions have not been changed, are not sufficiently rigorous.
And the quality of hotel service consists of so many elements that cannot be measured precisely: a hotel can have televisions, telephones, and minibar in the room, can have elevators, pools, garage, and restaurant that make it classify for a superior category, but if its cleaning is to be questioned, if the reservation of rooms works poorly, if bathrooms faucets leak, if windows don't close, if the rooms walls are dirty, if beds crack, if personnel is not competent, to the high punctuation the hotel gets in reality deserves a modest service.
It could be said that this point must be given a market control: the unsatisfied client doesn't return to the hotels where they have been treated unsatisfactorily.
The word gets around, few new clients will request a room reservation.
However, the particular role of the hotel, for which new clients continually go through who often make the reservation of rooms in hotels through CRS, without knowing the hotel where they will be destined, without making their election and reservation under somebody's advised who has previously been in the hotel, all this leads to a reduced control.
The possible solutions follow three approaches:
- a strict and continuous public control (as it's done in Austria and Switzerland);
- a control on behalf of consumers' associations (particularly diffused in countries like Germany, and United Kingdom);
- an associative control: incorporate hotels to consortia, associations, groups, chains receive the control from the associations to which they belong, so the client who makes the reservation of rooms in hotels belonging to a certain group, knows that the hotel has the qualitative standard guaranteed by the group.
The latter control is, so far, what in Italy seems to be more effective.
The stars classification applied in Italy is, in the base, similar to the one applied in most European countries.
Therefore, the tourist who travels through Europe should not have problems in determining the quality of the hotel service.
More difficult could be the election when he travels outside Europe: there are many countries where hotel classifications don't exist.