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The Michelin Guide will start rating hotels


After 123 years of recommending restaurants to travelers by car, the Michelin Guide is entering the world of hospitality.

At an event on Thursday (October 5) in Paris, the French tire maker’s eponymous publication announced that it would begin designating “the world’s most exceptional hotels” – not with one, two or three stars but with a “key” emblem. . It will award the keys to establishments according to five criteria: local character, individuality, excellence in architecture and interior decoration, first-rate service and comfort and consistent value for money.

The move comes five years after Michelin quietly acquired Tablet Hotels, a boutique and luxury hotel booking site, for an undisclosed sum. That site’s reservation interface and hotel database now feeds into a portal on the Michelin Guide site where consumers can browse a selection of accommodations, many with Michelin-rated restaurants, and make reservations.

It’s a long-planned attempt to capture a larger share of the travel market at a time when consumer spending and competition in the industry are at an all-time high. In recent months, restaurant ranking titans World’s 50 Best and La Liste have released hotel lists for the first time.

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The first Michelin keys will be announced in the first half of 2024 from a pre-selected group of 5,300 hotels in 120 countries, the company said. All of these hotels, whether they win keys or not, will be bookable through its website. Michelin will receive commissions on reservations made on its site.

Michelin has not clarified whether a hotel can obtain more than one key. In restaurant reviews, one star indicates a place is “worth a visit,” two “worth a detour,” and three “worth a special trip.”

“The Michelin key is a clear and reliable indication for travelers,” said Gwendal Poullennec, international director of the Michelin Guide, in a press release.

Michelin’s expansion into the hospitality sector comes just weeks after The New York Times reported that six- and seven-figure sponsorship deals with tourism authorities had brought the guide to places like Colorado and Florida.

The hotel industry will operate differently. Michelin plans to launch its service with a global list of keys, rather than destination-specific guides. Since the company is expected to generate significant revenue from commissions (the tablet is estimated to have brought in $100 million in gross bookings in 2018, as well as frequent flyer club membership fees), Sponsorship agreements with tourist offices will not be the only way for the company. to monetize hotel content.

“In an industry saturated with questionable endorsements, the Michelin Guide offers its expertise to travelers to guide them to the best experiences,” he said in a press release.

To this end, Michelin keys will be awarded following anonymous stays by Michelin staff judges, marking a departure from World’s 50 Best, which allows its anonymous panel to rank hotels at which they have accepted free stays, and The List, which mainly bases its classification. on what has been written in previous press articles. Michelin inspectors pay their bills, Poullennec said, so there is no “commercial bias.”

For Michelin, this latest extension marks a return to basics. Beginning as a publisher in 1900, the company targeted travelers by providing practical advice to drivers of early motor vehicles across France. In 1920, he charged for guides filled with lists of hotels in Paris and restaurants divided into categories.


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