The new hotel classification in France (2022)

Hotel star ratings are determined by criteria that hotels must meet to qualify for a category. These categories range from one to five stars for tourist hotels, with "palace" status being a separate distinction for 5-star hotels. Campsites, residential leisure parks, tourist residences and holiday villages are also assessed on the same principle but with adapted standards.

The 2022 classification signs

In France, it is Atout France that defines the classification criteria and COFRAC that accredits the organisations that can audit the establishments. This classification is not compulsory for hotels, some are satisfied, for example, with the rating on review platforms such as Google, TripAdvisor or Booking. Every 5 years, hotels must be audited again to keep their category.

The principle

The criteria are organised in correspondance to a point system. To obtain the classification, the hotel is audited by a professional who checks 243 criteria. In the case of 4 and 5 star hotels, some criteria will be checked during a mystery visit. 

The criteria are classified into 3 areas:

  1.  Equipment
  2.  Customer service
  3.  Accessibility and sustainable development

Each criterion is identified by a [number] and assigned a number of points.

There are different types of criteria: 

  • Non-compensatory mandatory criteria (NCB ): these criteria are mandatory and failure to meet them disqualifies the hotel from being classified. An example: [28] The rooms are clean and in good condition (walls, floor, ceiling) (5 points). These criteria relate mainly to the cleanliness of the establishment and its infrastructure and are obviously present in all categories.
  • Mandatory" criteria: these criteria are obligatory but a certain number can be compensated by optional criteria called "à la carte".
  • "Ala carte" criteria: the hotel is required to meet a defined number of these criteria (of its choice) to validate its category. These criteria can also be used to compensate for the mandatory criteria.

The calculation of points

To obtain the classification in a given category, it is imperative to validate :

  • The 10 " mandatory and non-compensable " criteria representing 44 points, namely criteria [8], [11], [28], [57], [58], [65], [75], [116], [117] and [121]
  • The points of the " compulsory " criteria: these criteria must be fulfilled, but it is tolerated that only 95% of the compulsory points are fulfilled (including the 44 points of the "compulsory non-compensable" criteria), 5% of the "compulsory" criteria can be compensated by "à la carte" criteria. To compensate them, three times as many "à la carte" points are needed for each compulsory criterion to be compensated. For example, the mandatory criterion [47] All rooms are equipped with a flat screen TV (5 points) can be compensated by 15 "à la carte" points (5 points x 3)
  • A la carte" points: Each category is required to meet a certain number of "a la carte" criteria, the choice of these criteria being free (as their name indicates). Of the total number of "à la carte" points, hotels must validate 5% of them (for the 1 star category), 10% (2 stars), 20% (3 stars), 30% (4 stars) and 40% (5 stars). Points previously used to offset mandatory criteria cannot be counted a second time.

The higher you want to go in the ranking, the more compulsory criteria you have to meet and the fewer "à la carte" criteria you have to compensate with.

The point totals in this table may vary as certain criteria may or may not apply depending on the configuration of the hotel (number of rooms, presence or absence of outdoor space, geographical location, etc.).

Thus, taking the example of a 4-star hotel, the establishment will have to account for :

  • 95% of the 357 compulsory points available (i.e. a minimum of 339) - the remaining 5% (64 points) can be compensated by three times the number of optional points (i.e. 3x64=162 points), from the 231 unused à la carte points
  • 99 'à la carte' points - not already used to compensate for compulsory points

This makes it more difficult to compensate mandatory criteria with optional criteria when moving up the ranking.

The combination of compulsory and optional points was designed to allow for the specificity of the establishment and its commercial positioning.

For more information on the classification criteria, please refer to these documents:

What's new in the 2022 ranking

The new classification, which came into effect on 1 April 2022, has evolved by focusing on the digitalisation of hotel services and adding environmental and societal criteria. Some new features of the 2022 version:

  • Obsolete criteria have been removed: provision of a DVD player, fax, printer, telephone or bidet in the bathroom, etc.
  • The one star classification is less restrictive: one bathroom for every 8 rooms is now allowed, a clothes hanger can replace the hangers, some criteria are no longer compulsory: a drinks dispenser, flat storage, a "do not disturb" card, a baby bed, etc.
  • New criteria have been introduced for the higher categories, such as the value of digital media, the number of sockets in the room, the optional private pool/jacuzzi, the independent WC counted from 20%, the spa separate from the massage, the breakfast to go, etc.
  • Sustainable development is strongly emphas ised: there are now 27 criteria related to sustainable development (compared to 13 in the previous edition), of which 15 are mandatory: staff training in energy-saving management, water-saving and waste management measures, waste sorting for guests, environmentally friendly cleaning products, information to guests on low environmental impact transport, a means of reducing the amount of laundry to be done...
  • Shared facilities: Several nearby establishments (even of different brands) can share: reception, welcome, luggage storage, concierge service, private shuttles, parking, charging points for electric vehicles, catering facilities, wellness, gardens, terraces...provided that clear and transparent information is given to the guest.

How to meet the customer relationship criteria

Eleven criteria relate to the digitalisation of customer relations and cover a total of 31 points:

Criteria covered using a customer portal :

[102] Provision of a computer or touch-screen tablet in the room upon request - 2 points
[103] Presence of a service guide presenting all the hotel's services and prices (room directory) - 3 points
[104] Presence of a service guide presenting all the hotel's services and prices in 1 foreign language (room directory) - 2 points
[137] Newspapers - 2 points
[172] Information on the local tourist recommendations is accessible and available - 2 points
[208] Information on accessibility in information materials (guide, web...) - 2 points

A customer portal (a mobile app for customers), makes it possible to centralise the digital room directory, a newspaper kiosk as well as the map of the hotel's services that the customer can order in a few clicks. The guest can access the hotel's personalised tourist recommendations, read the press and chat with the receptionist, who can ensure that everything goes smoothly during their stay.

Thefact that the interface is digital means that the guest can be informed in their own language and have easy access to the hotel's services and recommendations without a language barrier.

This customer portal can be integrated into a tablet placed in the room to maximise access to services or in a web version so that the customer can find it on their own mobile device (smartphone, tablet, computer, etc.). 

With a QR code placed in their room, guests can easily access the portal on their phone and even download it if they want to take it with them outside the hotel, and view the interactive map that allows them to see the restaurants, museums and bars that the hotel recommends. 

Criteria covered using multi-channel messaging :

[165] Detailed and systematic confirmation of the reservation by any means - 4 points
[168] The elements of the reservation are rephrased when the client checks in - 4 points
[169] The customer is informed about his installation by clear indications - 2 points

In the pre-stay period, the automated sending of information by e-mail is essential to reassure the customer that the hotel is expecting him. The e-mail should therefore remind them of :

  • its reservation (room, dates of stay)
  • the additional services they have already booked (and those they may add)
  • the hotel's contact details
  • tourist recommendations around the hotel to help them plan their stay
  • restaurants or hotel reservations...

To maximise access to information and make life easier for the customer, some information can also be sent by SMS or instant messaging: the hotel address, the link for online check-in, confirmation of service orders (late check-out, taxi, room service, restaurant, etc.), important reminders (check-in/out time, order delivery, etc.)...

Criteria using customised forms and notifications:

[180] Provision of a customer satisfaction questionnaire - 3 points
[181] Existence of a system for collecting and processing complaints received in the establishment - 5 points

Through a chat message, SMS or e-mail, you ask the customer if everything is going well and give the customer the opportunity to report any dissatisfaction. Whether it is a few hours after check-in or in the middle of the stay, do not miss the opportunity to detect a problem that you can correct before the customer leaves

This mini satisfaction survey sent during your stay will ensure that everything is going well, but it does not prevent you from givinga more detailed opinion on the hotel's services after your departure. 


📣 We held a webinar on the new hotel classification on 7 April 2022, the recording is freely available to help you prepare for your next audit

📌 France's new hotel classification 2022: what you need to know

Understand the implications and opportunities offered by this new classification

Enjoy watching!


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