Though the experience of a perfect hotel stay was once driven by availability of amenities and location of the property, a new guest priority has now emerged – that of safety and hygiene. Customers easily trust the adherence of branded hotels to safety protocols, but for the smaller ones, surety lies in the QualSTAR COVID Safety Compliance scheme.
Today, the discerning traveller has adapted his travel needs to the changing world around him. Numerous studies and research conducted across the globe suggest that for the tourism and hospitality industry to recover from the devastating effects of the pandemic on business, building traveller confidence is paramount. To achieve that, it is imperative to assure prospective customers and clients of the strict adherence to safety and hygiene guidelines. But, merely following set protocols is not enough; it is important to put a stamp on these measures, so customers can differentiate between a COVID-safety-compliant and non-compliant enterprise. While customers easily trust branded hotels and believe in their adherence to safety protocols, it is difficult for the smaller ones (including apartment hotels, other rental accommodation and banquet halls) to compete on that ground. Thus comes in the QualSTAR COVID Safety Compliance scheme.
What is QualSTAR COVID Safety Compliance scheme?
QualSTAR COVID Safety Compliance scheme is a certification that assures patrons of the respective hotel’s or accommodation provider’s strict adherence to COVID-safety guidelines. It has been accredited by National Accreditation Board for Certification Bodies (NABCB) that falls under the umbrella of Quality Council of India (QCI), an undertaking of Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Government of India. It aims to provide an objective assessment of the preventive measures adopted by hotels to mitigate COVID-related risks and hazards.
QualSTAR is the first and only COVID Compliance Certification Agency in India which has been accredited by NABCB (a member of International Accreditation Forum or IAF) in line with international standards for the accommodation sector. The QualSTAR COVID Safety Compliance scheme is based on guidelines by World Health Organization (WHO), Ministry of Tourism, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), Ministry of Health & Family Welfare and other government organisations.
How does the scheme work?
The QualSTAR certification process broadly involves three crucial stages, with several steps under each for the impartial certification of accommodations.
Stage1: Registration – Registration for the QualSTAR COVID Safety Compliance scheme is a completely automated, online process that is available free of charge. Those interested just need to log on to https://qualstar.co.in/ and register.
Stage2: Application – The next stage in the process is completion of application documents to gain access to the guidelines incorporated into the COVID compliance standard. This facilitates submission of the self assessment form leading up to the site audit.
Stage3: Audit – The site audit and subsequent
COVID Compliance certification forms the final stage of the process. Once all criteria are diligently met, the certificate is issued for a period of two years. As many as four surveillanceaudits (mandatory inspections) are conducted by the QualSTAR team to ensure continual adherence to a 200-point checklist.
The QualSTAR advantage
QualSTAR COVID Safety Compliance scheme has been formulated by industry experts with years of extensive experience behind them, and founded under the patronage of Shree VK Duggal, former Governor of Manipur and Mizoram; former Director General – Tourism, Government of India; and former Union Home Secretary.
Speaking about the certification’s authenticity and benefits, Anil Jauhri, Lead Assessor – NABCB, Lead Evaluator – APAC and IAF Evaluator, says, “COVID compliance is top of everyone’s priority today and certainly of the hospitality industry. A third-party COVID compliance certification for hotels carries more weightage than a self-declaration. The common man is bombarded with lots of claims and for him, an accredited certification should mean that he can be assured that he is dealing with a credible, competent certification body that is under the oversight of a national body.”
MS (Kuki) Chawla, Director, QualSTAR, says that the idea behind COVID Safety Compliance certification was primarily to build traveller confidence as a stepping stone in the recovery of the hospitality sector. “It has repeatedly been said in recent times that for the sector to recover, traveller confidence is a priority. Recognising the absence of an accredited certification in the field, QualSTAR formulated the COVID Safety Compliance certification to initiate the hospitality sector on to a path of recovery. The certification, through its extensive checks and mystery audits, will assure the guest of the accommodation’s conformity to safety and hygiene guidelines.”
Priya Singh, Chief Executive Officer, QualSTAR, says, “Keeping the nuances of guest service in mind from the point of view of the user as well as the service provider, and adapting it to international auditing standards for rating and classification is something that QualSTAR has been able to execute after almost seven years of research and development. Being accredited by the national body of the country is a step in the right direction in bringing Indian hospitality standards on a par with the rest of the world. Safety and preventive measures were built into the classification standard to deal with both natural as well as man-made disasters.” During these unprecedented times, Singh adds, QualSTAR took the lead and with the assistance of stakeholders from various relevant fields, launched COVID compliance audits to assist hotels in getting back on their feet.
QualSTAR is the first and only NABCB (National Accreditation Board for Certification Bodies under the umbrella of QCI -Quality Council of India) accredited certification body in the country to provide classification and rating of tourist accommodations. Founded under the patronage of Shree VK Duggal (former Governor of Manipur and Mizoram; former Director General – Tourism, Government of India; and former Union Home Secretary), its classification services act as a third-party assurance with an aim to boost the confidence of visitors on the quality and safety of the related product and services.
International quality audits and rating criteria based on the current needs of the hospitality industry are the USP of the QualSTAR classification system. Audits are undertaken by the very best minds, armed with a skill set of over 25 years of hospitality experience in leading hotel chains such as ITC, Taj Group of Hotels and catering services, as well as The Oberoi group to name a few. Global standardisation, transparency and surveillance on adherence to quality and hygiene are its hallmark. The certification scheme covers hotels, apartment hotels and resorts in India within the framework of ISO/IEC 17065:2012 and QUAL Standards QPL 01 2020 & QPL 02 2020 (Criteria Standards).
Register on https://qualstar.co.in/ and give your customers the assurance of safety and hygiene, so they book with you worry-free!