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Lifestyle

3 Proven Ways to Breathe Positivity and Energy into Your Lifestyle

May 2, 2019

The modern lives we are all forced to lead may come with the safety and security that society provides, but it does take a lot away from us as well. Chronic depression, constant anxiety and crushing stress are just three of the most common tolls that it takes, and even celebrities, whom most of us consider to have everything, are not exempt from these three effects either. To help us relax and adapt better to the super busy lifestyles we all lead in varying degrees, here are three proven methods to invite positive energy into our lives.

Take Up a Sport

We are not talking about watching footy on TV and cheering for the West Coast Eagles, or whichever team you support, but actually playing physical sport. You can play footy if you want, but if it feels too physically demanding at the moment, take up soccer, hockey, cricket, tennis or even netball for that matter, but the principle idea is to get involved with a competitive sport of any kind. It will breathe energy and enthusiasm in your life like nothing else can, and as a side effect, you will become a fitter and stronger individual as well.

Take Up Yoga

Yoga has been proven beyond doubt via scientific studies to be useful in busting stress, relieving anxiety and improving symptoms of depression, which are the three prime problems most of us face while dealing with our daily lives.

Therefore, it would be safe to state that taking up yoga is one of the best ways in which you can possibly invite positivity and energy into your lifestyle. The best part is that now Yoga Selection makes it possible to learn and practice yoga, without ever having to leave your home, office or hotel room.

The online training platform essentially eliminates geographical boundaries, making it super easy for even the busiest of individuals to practice yoga from anywhere in the world, at any time of the day.

Take Up a Martial Art

Irrespective of what classic martial art movies might have taught you, the truth is that any established form of martial art is as much a lifestyle as it is an offensive/defensive art.

Take up a martial art and train regularly to find yourself strengthening your body and mind at the same time. You won’t have to compete if you do not want to, but as long as you stay fit and practice on a regular basis within the disciplines of any martial art, know that it will bring positive energy into your life, because directing the inner flow of chi towards a better life is a big part of what most ancient forms of martial arts were about originally.

You can still go for frequent spa and massage sessions to supplement your primary effort of course, but remember that unless the body is exercised under some discipline or the other, the positivity and energy won’t be so effective or long lasting from those relaxing sessions as they should be.

Lifestyle

When Is it Appropriate to Buy Jewelry as a Gift?

May 2, 2019

Buying a gift for an adult is never easy for anyone because there are just so many things to consider here. How close are you to the person? Does the gift suit the occasion? Are you spending too much or too less? Will he/she even like the thing that you are buying? Would it be considered inappropriate? The questions are endless, and so is the confusion! However, when it comes to buying jewelry as a gift for someone, things are about to get a lot less confusing because we are going to tell you all that you will ever need to know.

When You are Buying It for Your Wife or Long-Term Girlfriend

It doesn’t get safer and more obvious than that, but we couldn’t skip the most eligible person of course! If it’s your wife or long-term partner that you are considering buying jewelry for, no occasion is inappropriate for that thought. Order a pair of double pearl loop earrings or a multi-pearl collar necklace from lintonjewelry.com and she will love it, even if there is no occasion in sight. A beautiful piece of jewelry, made with proper craftsmanship can turn any ordinary day into a romantic one.

When It’s Your Mother’s Birthday

Your mom probably deserves every dollar you can spend on that special piece of jewelry that you had been planning for her coming birthday, so don’t skimp out at the last moment and get her something that’s actually nice and expensive.

When It’s Your Best Friend’s Birthday

There’s a reason you call that woman your BFF, so what’s better than a exquisite piece of pearl bracelet on her birthday to show her how much you truly appreciate her presence in your life? Even better, you can get a pair of the piece you pick and keep one for yourself too, and both of you will have one more thing in common.

When There’s a Wedding

Weddings are a socially accepted occasion to gift jewelry to the couple getting married. However, we advise setting a budget that’s somehow proportionate to the kind of relationship you share with the couple or one of the two. Close relatives and friends deserve a bigger budget than your colleague whom you only meet during workdays in the office.

When It’s an Anniversary

If it’s someone else’s anniversary, we would say jewelry is definitely a great option, but only for people who are close enough to warrant such gifting budgets. On the other hand, if it’s your parents’ anniversary or your own, jewelry can even be considered a must.

It might be tempting to gift overtly expensive things to a co-worker you like a lot, or your boss, whom you want to impress, but it’s probably not a good idea. To the co-worker, it might send the wrong message and to your boss, it might seem like you are trying to bribe them; both of which might actually work in your favor, but the chances of the exact opposite happening are so high that you should probably save that money for your mother’s birthday instead!

Lifestyle

4 Reasons You Should Become a Special Education Teacher

May 2, 2019

As with any career, there are challenges and delights in the world of a special education teacher. While the challenges that you will face in the role of educator are unique, especially when working in special education, the rewards are just as unique and make the experience more than worthwhile. Teachers who choose to specifically study for a special education degree have the opportunity to make a lasting and meaningful impact on the life of a child and their family.

Here are some of the top reasons why you should seriously consider becoming a special education teacher. What’s more, you can begin the process of studying for the role whenever you choose.

Make a Difference

This is one of the key advantages of any kind of teaching role. It doesn’t matter what you teach – you are making a positive difference to someone’s life. A special education teacher plays an even more important role, as they will be trying to connect with and teach the most vulnerable children, including autistic children and those with other learning disabilities.

There are few feelings as special as when an autistic child who is resistant to physical touch comes up to you and gives you a hug. If you want to be able to make a positive and life-changing difference to the life of a child who needs it more than most, working as a special education teacher is an easy way of achieving this.

High Demand

Teachers are always sorely needed, but special education teachers are in particularly high demand. Even among teachers, special needs teaching is considered to be particularly difficult, and it definitely requires a particular type of person to be able to rise to the unique challenges involved. However, if you are passionate about making a difference to the lives of the children who need it the most, this may be the role for you.

Studying to become a special education teacher is a fantastic pathway into a solid future career. The demand for special education teachers is continuing to grow, and is showing no signs of stopping anytime soon.

Study Online

You can study for a Childhood Special Education Master’s Degree online, which is cheaper than enrolling on a campus course, and allows you to schedule your studying time around your own personal life. If you’re on the fence about studying because of the costs involved, you are apprehensive about traveling far from home, or are tied down to where you currently live, studying online can provide a lifeline.

More Marketable

Studying to become a special education teacher on top of an existing teaching degree increases your value within the field. Schools will love to have a teacher on staff who is qualified at not only teaching a normal class but who is also capable of managing special needs students.

If you are passionate about teaching and about improving the lives of children, studying to become a special education teacher is a solid career choice. There will always be positions open for teachers who are able to work with the most vulnerable and challenged students. Have a look for a course near you today, or look for an online course from a leading university.

Lifestyle

A Guide to Planning Your Daughter’s Wedding

April 30, 2019

While many mother-of-the-brides will often act simply as financial and moral support to their daughter’s on their big day, many more brides will want their mother to be helping with wedding arrangements and providing active support through the preparation process. If you have been given the role of organising your daughter’s wedding, read on to find out how you can live up to the responsibility.

Help With Dress Shopping

It is easy to let indecision take over when you are planning your dress as a bride, and many brides will want their mother to attend fittings with them and provide their honest opinion of the dresses in question. Therefore, you should make sure that you offer the time to go with your daughter when she is choosing what can turn out to be the most important and sentimental part of any wedding.

However, you should not let the focus on your daughter’s dress stop you from considering your own outfit. If you are looking for mother-of-the-bride dresses that can allow you to dress for the occasion, Froxx offers plus size mother of the bride dresses that are both unique and will make sure you look stunning beside your daughter.

Meet the In-Laws

To avoid any awkward scenarios on the day, you should ensure that you have met the groom’s parents and relatives before the wedding. This is especially important if you need to discuss elements of the wedding planning. If you have not met them, you should make an effort to arrange a meeting beforehand so that you can get to know each other.

Prepare to be the Middle-Man

While the bride has her own stresses to think about, you may find yourself becoming the middle-man between caterers and exterior organizations such as the venue. This is especially true if your daughter is getting married in her hometown, or if you live in the same area as the wedding. Then, you should ensure that you take the time to stay organized, know what your daughter’s wishes are, and check that everything is running smoothly where possible.

Visit Potential Locations

The location of the wedding is almost as important as the dress, and your daughter will probably ensure that you are her go-to person for visits to potential locations. Whether you provide the transport to these or simply give your opinion, it is crucial that you make time for this and respect your daughter’s decision, whether your daughter wants to get married in a church, registry office or more unusual location.

Relying on Tradition

It is up to you to make any long-standing traditions that have been followed through in your family for generations happen. For instance, this could even be as simple as finding something borrowed, and it is important that you share these moments with your daughter if you believe that they are vital to a family wedding.

Take on a Hostess Role

It is likely that your daughter will be extremely busy at events throughout the periods leading up the wedding. If this is the case, be prepared to take on a hostess role to take the stress away from your daughter, ensuring that all guests are happy, that nothing goes wrong, and that everyone is included in events.

Lifestyle

Simple Things That Will Improve Your Lifestyle Overall

April 23, 2019

When most people think about changing their lives, they tend to start too big, which is their downfall. To make your life better doesn’t mean you need to pack up and leave the world behind you in order to find yourself while trekking halfway across the globe, it can simply mean doing some of the more tedious tasks in life right so that you can enjoy each day to its fullest.

This helpful guide is going to walk you through some great things you can do to make everyday life just that little bit easier on yourself, starting today. They might not be the most exciting of tasks but doing them will leave you will less stress and more time to do the things you do enjoy.

Sort out your credit score: credit starter loans

In the modern world, credit scores are so important for people to get a proper start in life. Having a good credit score can help you to get a mortgage on a home in the future, start a business, or even help you to raise your children so that they want for nothing.

A good way to improve your credit score is to use installment loans to build credit from Western Shamrock; if you want some in-depth insight from the professionals take the time to research if this is the right kind of loan for you.

Organize your workspace to be more productive

If you are an ambitious person who enjoys working, then you need to take some time to organize your workspace by employing some of these cool tactics to help declutter your desk. Something as simple as putting labels on everything you use can make navigating your office so much easier and give you more time to get essential tasks done rather than trying to find that file you need.

Another way of decluttering and making your work life easier is to learn how to make your emails easier to use. Make folders that will house all the emails you need for different projects, specific events, and subjects. Every time an email comes into your inbox, you can then immediately see where it needs to go and file it away for when you are going to need it.

Keep things clean with ease

It is often said that a tidy home means a tidy mind, and it is true that being in a clean and tidy environment can reduce your stress and make you feel more in control of your life. If you are not someone who likes cleaning, then using these home cleaning hacks will help you to get off on the right foot.

For example, something as simple as deodorizing your trash can once every month will help your kitchen to always smell sweeter, even if you forget and need to take the rubbish out a day late.

Another great idea is to freeze ice cubes of vinegar which have pieces of lemon in and then feed them through your garbage disposal in the sink to clean the pipes quickly.

Lifestyle

5 Tips for Selecting Stone for Your Kitchen Countertops

April 23, 2019

Whether you’re building a new kitchen or remodeling, the countertop is an integral part of that space. It’s central to both the overall look and the everyday use of the room. When you decide to go with a stone kitchen countertop, you’re choosing a material that is both beautiful and durable. There are now more varieties available than ever, so there is bound to be a stone that’s perfect for your kitchen. However, it’s also understandable if you’re overwhelmed by all the different options and not sure how to begin selecting stone. Here are some helpful tips for choosing the right one for you.

1. Your Lifestyle

When selecting stone, consider which option will fit best with your lifestyle. How will the countertops be used from day to day? A stone that works for single people might be completely wrong for homes with big families. If you have young children, you’ll know to expect lots of spills and other challenges. And if you cook a lot, your countertop will need to be strong enough to handle wear and tear.

Granite is a popular choice for families and those that want something durable. It is widely available and resistant to heat, cuts, UV rays, and scratches. This stone used to be very expensive, but the cost has gone down now that it’s more popular. It’s a heavy material, so confer with your contractor or fabricator to make sure your cabinets can support it.

While marble is incredibly elegant, it’s more susceptible to stains than some other stones. It can be damaged by acids such as vinegar, lemon juice, wine, or coffee. And it’s less resistant to scratches. But if you are someone who loves to bake, marble is a great choice. Because it’s heat resistant, the surface always stays cool to the touch, which is ideal for rolling out dough, and nothing absorbs and reflects light as beautifully as marble.

2. Maintenance Required

Look into the kind of care and maintenance that the stone will require. Each type of stone will need at least some maintenance. Be honest and realistic about how much you can keep up with. If you’re usually pretty low-maintenance, you might want to avoid selecting stones that require extra care.

Some stones, such as marble and granite, are porous, meaning they absorb liquids. So in order to prevent stains, they need to be sealed when installed. And they may need to be periodically resealed afterward.

Marble can be damaged by acidic cleaners, so make sure to avoid those and just use stone cleaner and a soft cloth.

True soapstone is non-porous, so it doesn’t require sealing. But you should regularly apply mineral oil. Because soapstone darkens over time, this will make sure it maintains a uniform color. If you don’t apply the mineral oil, over time, oils from your hands may give it a blotchy look.

Meanwhile, some prefer engineered stone, such as CaesarStone, because it is lower maintenance. Engineered stone mimics the look of natural stone but can be even more durable. This material is nonporous, so it’s more stain resistant and doesn’t need sealing.

3. Appearance

Are you interested in a certain look for your kitchen? If so, think about selecting stone that will fit best into that style. You can use samples of the cabinets, flooring, backsplash, and wall color of your kitchen to see which stone compliments those the best. View them at different distances and angles to really get a sense of how it will all look together.

There’s also a wide array of colors available with certain stones. Granite especially comes in many different colors and patterns. Engineered stone can come in colors not found in natural stones. One suggestion is to choose a color that contrasts with other elements of the kitchen, such as a darker granite with white cabinets.

However, don’t sacrifice practicality just to achieve your preferred look. If you love the stunning look of marble but want something more durable and less high maintenance, consider alternate options. Quartzite resembles marble but is stronger and less porous. It’s resistant to heat, chips, scratches, and other damage. Soapstone can be a substitute for black marble and is more resistant to acid.

Edge profiles and finishes can be another way to customize your kitchen countertop. A polished finish will give a sleek, glossy look, while a honed finish can suit a more rustic feel. Some like that the polished finish reflects light, which can make the kitchen look more spacious. But overall, the best finish can depend on the stone.

Square edges are usually considered standard, but more decorative choices include bullnose, radius, ogee, and triple waterfall. You can see the edge profiles available on the EleMar Oregon website.

4. Visit the Showroom

It’s better if you can see the stone in person before making a decision. Looking at pictures of a stone online is really no substitute. While some larger stores allow you to look at stone samples, those can be too small for you to really get the best idea. And each slab of natural stone has its own unique look. If you just pick based off a sample, you won’t know exactly what to expect.

But when you visit a showroom, like at EleMar Oregon, you can pick the exact slabs you want. You’ll also work with an incredibly knowledgeable staff that can answer any questions. At EleMar Oregon, we have showrooms in all three of our Oregon locations. Our staff knows how important the right lighting is and can even provide more light for you to get a better look at the stone.

5. Your Budget

Have a general budget in mind, as that could have an impact on selecting stone. A stone countertop is an investment, so it’s likely you’ll end up paying a significant amount. But you don’t want to choose a stone you absolutely cannot afford. At EleMar, we have a color-coded relative price guide to help keep you on budget.

The countertop is something you will use every day for years to come, so you want to make this decision as carefully as possible. You should do plenty of research on each of the different stones to have a general idea of your best options. Also, have a list of questions ready before you go to a showroom. The process can be overwhelming, so you want to make sure you’re prepared. You can find more information about each stone available from EleMar Oregon on our website or by visiting our showrooms.

Lifestyle

Tips for Vacuflo Central Vacuum Troubleshooting

April 23, 2019

Now that you have a Vacuflo central vacuum installed, chances are you couldn’t be happier. With a central vacuuming system, you no longer have to worry about lugging a heavy vacuum cleaner from room to room; you simply plug a hose into the preinstalled inlet on the wall. The dirt and debris are carried to a large filtration system in an out-of-the-way area—such as a basement or garage—which only needs to be emptied every month or so.

Not only are you saving time and money with your central vacuum, but you’re probably enjoying better air quality than ever before too. Traditional vacuum cleaners tend to churn up the air around them as they work, throwing dust and debris everywhere. Since central vacuum power units are far away from where the cleaning is being done, they don’t have this problem. Not only that, but the motor on a central vacuuming system is far more powerful and can get a lot more cleaning done in less time.

Even with all these benefits, of course, it’s still possible you’ll occasionally happen upon a problem you need to fix. Here are a few tips for Vacuflo central vacuum troubleshooting:

Problem: The Unit Will Not Turn On

If your unit will simply not start, it could be due to any one of several issues. Often, the fix is a very simple one. If you plug the hose in and the system doesn’t turn on, it could be due to a faulty hose or an electrical issue.

Tips:

  1. Start by checking to see if the hose is clogged. If there’s some kind of blockage inside of the vacuum, the power may cut for safety reasons.
  2. If this doesn’t seem to be the case, try checking the inlet that the hose is connected to. It’s possible that particular inlet is dead and needs to be fixed; try connecting the hose to another inlet.
  3. The problem may be with your circuit board, or the hose itself may be damaged. Do a thorough—and very careful—inspection of all your circuitry and wiring. If you notice any burnt or damaged wiring, contact a technician immediately.

Problem: Weak Suction or No Suction

Central vacuum motors are very powerful and get a lot of suction, part of the reason they’re so effective at cleaning your home. If you notice the suction is reduced or, worse, there is no suction at all—despite the motor being on—then it could be because of one of the following problems.

Tips:

  1. The most likely cause of reduced suction in your central vacuum is simply a full dust canister. While the dust canister in a central vacuum is much larger than that of a portable vacuum and doesn’t need to be emptied as often, it will still fill up over time and eventually need to be cleared. Check your dust canister to make sure it’s not full.
  2. You’ll also want to make sure your canister is tightly latched shut. If it hasn’t been latched properly, chances are it won’t be able to form a proper vacuum. This will affect the suction in your central vacuum. You will also want to check if the gaskets are in good working order and are properly attached. Damaged gaskets will also affect the unit.
  3. Check to see if there is blockage elsewhere in the unit; look to see if the cloth filter, foam filter, and screen are clear. If any one of these filters has become clogged, it can hinder the operation of your central vacuum.

Problem: The Unit Will Not Turn Off

If you have started your central vacuum and it seems to be working fine, but you can’t seem to turn it off, this could be a problem with your 24-volt circuit.

Tips:

  1. Go to the unit itself and disconnect one of the 24-volt wires (there should be two of these.) If the unit stops when you do this, it’s possible the two wires are in contact somehow and should not be.
  2. If the unit does not stop when you disconnect one of the wires, it’s possible you have a defective circuit. In either case, you may need to contact your Vacuflo dealer.

Problem: The Pipes in the Unit Seem To Be Leaking

Sometimes, the unit seems to be working fine but the pipes themselves appear to be leaking. This, of course, will affect the performance of your central vacuum unit and could be caused by damage from an outside source.

Tips:

  1. First, attempt to locate the source of the leak. A leak doesn’t necessarily mean your unit is damaged. A part could have been installed incorrectly, or it could have been removed and reinstalled improperly. This is especially likely if you recently had major work done on your house. Very often, contractors hired to do housework don’t quite know what to do with a central vacuum and can cause problems as they go about their tasks.
  2. Check the manual for your device. If you are having trouble locating the source of a leak, chances are you are missing or forgetting an inlet or part of the unit somewhere. Since it’s a central vacuum, it’s very large and is a massive system within your home.
  3. Central vacuums have also been known to be damaged by gardening or the growth of tree roots. If you’ve had a major gardening project done recently, it’s possible it affected your vacuum unit. Look near where the project took place to see if any pipes or inlets were affected.

Problem Not Listed Here?

The problems listed in this article are merely some of the most common things people question when attempting Vacuflo central vacuum troubleshooting. If you have an issue not listed above, don’t hesitate to contact Gary’s Vacuflo. We’ll send a technician down to answer your questions and make any necessary repairs.

Lifestyle

When booking a hotel what ratings should you pay attention to?

April 2, 2019

Many of us like to scour around online before committing to booking a hotel for our trips away. According to TripAdvisor’s Path to Purchase report in 2017:

  • 33% of people around the world visit travel sites
  • 74% of hotel purchasers check TripAdvisor

With so many of us reading and checking online reviews, the question must be asked: just how important are star ratings in the modern world of hospitality? Do people still value them, or are they deemed less important than the words of a (purportedly) real guest experience?

In this article, we’ll explore the star standard for the hotel industry to find out if guests can still glean worthwhile information from it.

The AA’s UK hotel star rating system

The basics

The AA’s star system has a basic level of entry requirements that must be fulfilled regardless of star level. These include:

  • Public liability insurance
  • Fire risk assessment
  • Food safety/hygiene compliance
  • Health and safety compliance
  • Planning compliance
  • Licensing compliance
  • Hotel Proprietors Act compliance
  • Data Protection Act/GDPR compliance
  • The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 compliance
  • Equality Act 2010 compliance
  • Safety and security minimum requirements
    • This includes staff to be on site and on call 24-hours a day, printed instructions for emergencies in the night and for evacuation procedures in every bedroom.
    • Symbols, diagrams, and multilingual emergency notices in every bedroom.
    • Registered guests should have access to the hotel at all times, with the hotel entrance illuminated in the dark and identifiable. Lighting in all public areas, stairways, and landings.
    • Telephone access 24-hours a day.
    • A key or card for guests to lock bedroom doors inside and out, and security fittings on windows.

In addition to the above, hotels looking to enter the AA star system need to abide by a minimum level of maintenance, such as fixtures, electrical and gas equipment in the building being clean and fit for purpose. There’s also a minimum requirement for cleanliness, with the AA stating that there must be ‘a high standard of cleanliness maintained throughout the property’ regardless of star level — cleanliness is not expected to vary between star level.

The differences between levels

From here, the differences between star levels becomes more apparent in the AA’s Common Quality Standards. For example, where a one-star hotel is required to offer an iron and ironing board, a five-star hotel is expected to offer 24-hour return laundry service. A one-star hotel can verbally explain the breakfast menu, where a two-star hotel must have a clean, well-presented menu provided for breakfast items. But then for dinner provisions, both one and two-star hotels (as well as three and four) all need to serve dinner at a specific time advertised, communicate if no dinner is provided, and can provide a self-service buffet. The only difference in dinner requirements is for five-star hotels, which need to provide all courses, served to guests at their table.

There’s a huge level of detail for the requirements of each level outlined in the full document, which can be accessed here. But just how relevant is it in this digital age?

The problem with stars

The problem keeps coming back to the fact there’s no global star standard. Other countries run their own systems, with some having multiple different boards with their own star systems. Some hotels might even give themselves their own ‘unofficial’ star rating. Then, there’s the matter of tour operators running their own star rating system, which can make four-star hotels look like five-star hotels to unsuspecting bookers.

Even within the UK, a hotel may have an AA two-star rating, but a tour operator may advertise it as three-stars based on their own rating system.

The rise in trusting reviews

It’s hardly surprising then that more and more people are turning to review websites before booking a room. Plus, it seems there is an increasing level of trust in those online review and ratings.

Back in 2009, C. Cox et al noted that while 95% of internet users at the time relied on online research as part of their travel information search process, few were actively trusting them as a primary means of gauging a hotel’s quality. This was deemed to be because ‘[it] is not always easy to identify and access the profile of people who post information on blogs and other social networking sites, [so] the reader cannot easily gauge the credibility of the information provided’ (pg. 749).

Fast-forward nine years, and we’ve become very trusting of what we see online, with a reported 84% of people placing online reviews on the same level of trust as a recommendation from a friend. As mentioned at the start of this article, one of the main ways potential guests scout out hotels is to look on TripAdvisor, meaning they are placing a lot of value in the ratings there compared to the star-rating of a hotel.

The risk of ratings and reviews

But even that isn’t wholly without flaws. It is as relevant now as it was in 2009; we simply do not know much about the person who rates or reviews a hotel on TripAdvisor and the like. In fact, there’s even a ‘fake review’ market present in the digital world that is said to be able to get around the detection processes in place. So much so that one man managed to get a restaurant that doesn’t exist rated as the top restaurant in London.

A history of stars

It used to be that a hotel’s star rating was the go-to check for travellers looking to book a room. The star system used to be quite simple and, without the digital word of mouth, really the only information guests had to go on.

Now, the star system is as varied and unsettled as they come, with hotels claiming everything from five to ten stars instead of the traditional rating. Plus, many have noted that a four-star hotel in Madrid might not feel the same as a four-star Brighton Hotel.

This is down to the fact that there is no global star rating system.

The star-rating system for the UK was introduced in 1912 by the AA as a means of classifying hotel standards. Back then, the maximum number of stars was three. It wasn’t until 2006 that the AA developed the Common Quality Standards with the help of a number of UK tourist boards, which increased the maximum rating to five stars. Plus, in 1956, the AA introduced an additional Rosette Award scheme to ‘assess the quality of food served in restaurants and hotels’.

Which holds more value?

So long as you know to look out specifically for AA stars, the star rating system is useful for knowing the minimum you will receive from a hotel. By checking the minimum requirements set out by the AA, you can see the standards the hotel had to achieve to be granted not only entry to the star system at all, but the star level they have achieved. For example, the AA has rated The Majestic Hotel as a four-star hotel. You can take this and check their Common Quality Standard to find out that this means the hotel must provide such things as televisions with a screen larger than 24 inches, and a high degree of spaciousness within the rooms.

This forms a good foundation for what to expect of a hotel. From there, a look at guest reviews can help to cement an idea of the experience, but with caution for the above-mentioned flaws for the online review process.

All in all, it seems a certain degree of balance is required when considering ratings, reviews, and stars. Approached the right way, they can provide a keen insight into your potential booking. Just remember to check which stars are being shown!

Sources:

https://www.which.co.uk/reviews/uk-hotel-chains/article/hotel-star-ratings-explained

https://www.theaa.com/hotel-services/ratings-and-awards

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/advice/Confusion-over-hotel-star-ratings/

https://www.abta.com/help-and-complaints/frequently-asked-questions/i-booked-four-star-hotel-arrival-its-official

https://mk0tainsights9mcv7wv.kinstacdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/comScore-worldwide-Path-to-Purchase-2017.pdf

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/8603430.stm

Carmen Cox, Stephen Burgess, Carmine Sellitto & Jeremy Buultjens (2009) The Role of User-Generated Content in Tourists’ Travel Planning Behavior, Journey of Hospitality Marketing & Management, 18:8, 743-764

https://www.inc.com/craig-bloem/84-percent-of-people-trust-online-reviews-as-much-.html

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/prankster-oobah-butler-cooks-up-top-restaurant-the-shed-at-dulwich-fx6hfwj89