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New hotel ranking in France (2022 + August 2023 update)

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 benchmarks.

The 2022 classification signs

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

The latest classification came into force on 1st April 2022, and following one of the annual follow-up audits carried out by Cofrac-commissioned quality and tourist accommodation sector professionals, in August 2023 Atout France published a clarification note specifying certain criteria.

These include clarifications on the three main areas: Facilities, Customer service, and Accessibility and Sustainable Development.

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 divided into 3 categories:

  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".
  • "À la 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 acceptable for only 95% of the compulsory points to be 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 is 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 be 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 hotel layout (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 hook can replace the hangers, some criteria are no longer compulsory: a drinks dispenser, flat-lying storage, a "do not disturb" card, a baby bed, etc.
  • New criteria have been introduced for the higher categories: assessment of digital resources, number of outlets in the room, optional private pool/jacuzzi, separate toilets counted from 20%, spa separate from massage, takeaway breakfast, etc.
  • Sustainable development is strongly emphasised: 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

Twelve criteria concern the digitalisation of the guest relationship and cover a total of 33 points:

August 2023 update: [89] In-room telephone dedicated to hotel services - 2 points

Criteria covered using a guest portal :

[89] In-room telephone dedicated to hotel services (updated August 2023) - 2 points
[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 guest portal (a mobile app for guests), makes it possible to centralise the digital room directory, a newspaper kiosk as well as the map of the hotel's services that the guest 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.

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

Thanks to a QR Code placed in their room, guest guests can easily access the portal on their phone, and even download it if they wish to take it with them outside the hotel, and consult interactive map to see the restaurants, museums and bars recommended by the hotel. 

Reading a clarification from August 2023, we understand that instant messaging could also be taken into account:  

"By "direct contact" we mean a communication system with no intermediary between the receiver and guest. A messaging system is therefore direct. This system may be available through an application available via a QR Code present in the room. Indeed, if the reception desk is not open, the communication system may be available with delayed responses, just as if the reception desk is closed, no one will be able to answer if a telephone connects the room and the reception desk. There is therefore no notion of response time in this criterion".

By integrating the "Call reception" and "Write to reception" buttons into the LoungeUp Guest App, hotels meet criterion 89 positively "twice".

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 guest checks in - 4 points
[169] The guest is informed about their accommodation by clear indications - 2 points

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

  • their 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 a reservation of a table at the hotel...

To maximise access to information and make life easier for the guest, 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 guest if everything is going well and give the guest 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 guest leaves

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