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Hotel Rating System in France: Categories and Map

According to various sources [1] [2], France is the most popular tourist destination in the world. The industry is still growing and made 3.6% of the French GDP in 2016 [3]. 84.7 millions of tourists visited France in 2013, 2% more than in 2012. For tourism, the French state can count on the national agency Atout France. The public board promotes and develop tourism in France by implementing marketing campaigns, providing market analysis and helping French tourism-related businesses to optimize their hosting capacity. Essential for tourists, the hotel rating system in France provides an easy framework to evaluate hosting services.

Rating hotels in France

Along with other missions, Atout France manages the hotel rating system in France. The system has been updated in 2008 by the French hospitality organization led by the company Accor. It reflects the level of service for tourism facilities, from 1 star for basic services to 5 stars for the high-end palaces. This system gives a quick and easy overview for any guest traveling in France of what to expect: minimum room size, furniture, lifts… If some requirements stay mandatory, others remain optional with points value. Star attribution also require a certain amount of points.

The hotel rating system extends to all categories of tourism facilities in the scope of Atout France. Regulation concerning the attribution of stars differs for each category. However, all tourism facilities in France does not display stars as this rating system enforces standardized service levels, even for the first star.

A lot of tourism facilities choose not to get rating. It is mostly due to the gap between the level of service provided by the hotel and the comfort reflected by the obtained stars. Indeed, all the services and equipments improving the level of a hotel can’t be listed. It is also sometimes impossible to break down walls in too small or protected historical buildings to install a lift or make larger rooms. Some businesses, especially in the luxury sector, prefer rather not to be rated than to display too few stars on their front. According to the INSEE, 28.6% of the hotel rooms are not rated neither 35% of the camping hosting capacity.

3 stars camping plaque

3 stars camping plaque

Rated tourism facilities categories

Atout France publishes data of rated tourism facilities in France as an open dataset. Hosting capacity, number of stars, addresses and many other information are provided in a detailed list. The French hotel rating system covers 5 types of tourism facilities:

  • Hotels: Atout France lists 12445 rated hotels, the most classic form of hosting.
  • Leisure residencies: 1196 rated residencies host guests in France. These apartment hotels offers a flexibility guests seems to appreciate.
  • Camping: 5411 campsites. From the simple campgrounds to the wide resorts offering various kind of entertainment for campers.
  • Holiday villages: The kind of hosting depicted in the famous French movie “Les bronzés“. This national lampoon depicts adventures of French tourists in a resort providing various services like shops and activities to the guests. A kind of upgraded camping. Atout France lists 222 facilities of this category.
  • Residential parks: These facilities provide housing and basic services to the guests. The appeal resides in the originality of housing units and environment. Rooms can be huts, tipis, yurts or more classic bungalows in the countryside. Atout France only lists 98 rated residential parks.

Keep in mind that the total number of rated facilities does not reflect the real number of rated facilities open throughout the year. Indeed, a large part of tourism facilities close during winter in France. Atout France does not provide opening dates for each facility. However, most if not all tourism facilities open during the summer.

Rated hotel or rated camping?

This pie chart show the total hosting capacity for each category. Hosting capacities are not provided by Atout France for campsites and residential parks. However numbers of campgrounds and housing units are available. We can safely assume each of these has a hosting capacity of 6 persons. This number usually shows on facilities terms of use and security notices.

Figure 1: Hosting capacity in France by type facility. Source: Atout France.

With a rated hosting capacity around 4,4 millions, campings provide most of the total hosting capacity in France. Indeed, according to the French organization of campers, camping remains the most popular form of hosting in France. This success is explained by several factors:

  • Due to their nature, campings require by far less investment than others types of hosting. Consequently camping offers the cheapest hosting solution.
  • Requirements for the first star are very low. A location over 90 m² on a clean field, cold water sinks and showers are enough to be rated.
  • The majority of campings close during winter, reducing costs even more.

The more classic hotels come in second position. This more expensive form of hosting being used for business purposes in addition to the touristic uses. Residencies and holidays villages follow. Residential parks comes last, as it is the least developed type of rated hosting in France.

Mapping all the facilities in France

These map show all of rated facilities in France for each category. Use the top right selectors to display, stack or unselect maps.