Stars scheme boosts B&B business

B&B owners awarded the new Fáilte Ireland star ratings have seen bookings rise by up to 30%, according to their national body, B&B Ireland. The new classification scheme allows consumers to choose the quality of accommodation they want, which explains the rise in bookings, says B&B Ireland chief executive Helena Healy. 

  “I’ve had a 30% rise in bookings since I got my 3* rating,” says Offaly owner Gráinne Kirwan, of The Harbour Master’s House in Birr, which specialises in fishing holidays.  Gráinne was delighted when she got her 3* rating last August from Fáilte Ireland, just months after the scheme was first introduced.  “When people are booking holidays they look at the ratings before choosing their accommodation, otherwise they don’t know what to expect.”   

Farmhouse owner Bernadette Freyne of Ardfield, Ballinhassig, in Co Cork, got a 4* rating last year and has seen bookings rise by 25% compared to the same time last year.   “The German market has always been a big one for me and they like classification – they always ask how you can tell the difference in standards when booking a B&B.”

 “With the star ratings scheme, people are reassured that it is a very high standard of accommodation.”  Bernadette has also noticed that a much higher proportion of people who make email enquiries now go on to book, since she got the 4*. 

 Miriam Sadlier-Barry of The Old Bank in Bruff, Co Limerick turned down a 5* rating in favour of 4*, to have a bit more flexibility where her young family was concerned.  She says bookings have gone up 15% since last year, though she puts some of that rise down to joining B&B Ireland, which amongst other benefits, puts all members onto their live web booking engine.  

 Miriam adds that visitors also now realise they are getting value for money. “People used to say things like, ‘oh, that’s a bit dear for a B&B’ – now they realise that they are getting great quality for that and it’s no longer an issue.” 

 Olive O’Gorman owns and runs the award-winning “Glasha” farmhouse in Ballymacarby in Co Waterford – who got a 5* rating last year.  “Personally, I was delighted to be chosen for 5 stars because we have a great standard here, which is exactly what I would look for if I were going away. I already had the 5 diamonds rating with AA and RAC but I prefer to have an Irish classification.”

 Helena Healy of B&B Ireland says the scheme is almost a year old now and the feedback from those who have got their “stars” is hugely positive.   “Irish B&B’s have been revitalised and give guests a different experience than other forms of accommodation.  Now classification offers clearer guidance in terms of standards and we believe consumer satisfaction with B&B’s will rise both in the short and long term as a result, which is good news for urban and regional tourism.”

 “Since the scheme was introduced by Fáilte Ireland last year, over 300 of our properties have received star ratings, and that it’s been a real boost to their business. Consumers logging into our website www.bandbireland.com can now find 3, 4 and 5 star properties at a glance.”

 For details contact:   Trish Hegarty, Inis Communications on 0035386 1740057.

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