Welcome Standard Classification FAQs


  • Q. Why the change and what is Welcome Standard Classification?
  • Welcome Standard Classification is the new name for STTAR (Short Term Tourism Accommodation Rental) designed to address, assess and reward the guest experience provided by accommodation businesses. The introduction of this is based on operator feedback. We have taken the framework of the already successful Welcome Standard and developed it further to a new level in which it rewards businesses that are going the extra mile and recognising the extra effort*. It is focused on the quality of service and hospitality offered rather than a rigid set of physical attributes and the extent on facilities which is what the current classifications are.

    Each of the sections of the Welcome Standard have been developed in a more detailed criteria, enabling analysis and assessment of the experience provided to guests. The standards are focused on the fundamental components of the guest experience – service, hospitality, the quality of accommodation facilities, and food, if provided.

    (*) Responses/ facilities are points weighted depending on the response provided, rewarding higher levels of service and quality provided. The points will be explained in further detail in this document.

  • Q. Who is eligible?
  • Camping & Caravan Parks, Holiday Cottages, Holiday Apartments using prescribed (Regulatory) terms and also Listed Self Catering Cottages, Apartments and some other styles of accommodation that are not using non-regulatory terms.

  • Q. What are the requirements for participation?
  • For Regulatory businesses the following components are required to be compliant:

    i. Regulations
    ii. Code of Ethics
    iii. Minimum Requirement (Two questions)
    iv. Classifications (Broken into six sections)

    • NOTE: For properties who wish to simply be approved, they are required to be compliant with the Regulations section.

    For Non-regulatory businesses, the following components are required to ensure compliance:

    i. Standards
    ii. Code of Ethics
    iii. Minimum Requirements (Two questions)
    iv. Classifications (Broken into six sections)

    • NOTE: for properties who wish to focus solely on approval, they are required to be compliant with the Standards and Code of Ethics sections.

    To progress your application for both Regulatory and Non-Regulatory businesses, you will be required to complete all fields and to self-declare compliance with all statutory obligations. There is a requirement for all tourist accommodation providers to meet their statutory obligation which include but are not limited to:
    • Complying with the Local Government (Planning and Development) Acts, 1963-2000 (as amended or extended) and in possession of a Certificate of Compliance in relation to the planning permission granted and the building regulations including all current legislation.
    • Complying with the Fire Services Acts 1981 and 2003 (as amended or extended) and with any Regulations made thereunder (as amended or extended), and in possession of a valid Fire Safety Certificate.
    • Having notified the HSE in accordance with Article 6(2) of Regulation (EC) No 852/2004 and under Regulation 6 of S.I. No 369 of 2006 as amended and in compliance with Food Safety Regulations.
    Note: Fáilte Ireland advise all proprietors who may be unsure of their statutory obligations to obtain any clarification necessary to ensure their statutory obligations are being met.

  • Q. How is a self-assessment carried out?
  • The first stage is completion of a self-assessment using the new standards. This is easily completed via the Fáilte Ireland Trade Portal. Once a minimum standard is met, then an assessment visit will be scheduled, pre assessment checks will take place and then if the assessment is successful, a new Rating will be confirmed. 

    Visit the self-assesment page to find out more on how to apply through the Trade Portal

  • Q. How does the self-assessment work?
  • Once you log into the Trade Portal, select the ‘Assessment’ tile followed by the ‘Self-Assessment’ button and choose the style of property that you wish to self-assess against, including whether you wish to have your property assessed as an approved property (meeting minimum standards) or a property with a star rating (requiring all sections to be completed). You will then go through each of the sections.

    Download the guidelines on how to complete the self-assessment are available on the Fáilte Ireland website.

    You do not have to complete the self-assessment in one sitting, it is possible to return to the self-assessment if required. Any previous responses will be saved. Once the self-assessment is submitted, it is not possible to amend your answers. An email will be sent shortly after to the business providing a provisional rating. An assessment will then be scheduled with one of our Quality Assurance Assessors and pre assessment checks will take place. The assessment will be conducted using the same criteria as the self-assessment.

    The self-assessment must take place online, via the Fáilte Ireland Trade Portal.

  • Q. Why is there a self-assessment component?
  • Self-assessment enables a business to identify its strengths and weaknesses ahead of the assessment visit and make changes if deemed necessary to achieve the desired star rating. It also helps business owners understand the criteria ahead of the assessment visit. 

    By engaging in this process, the business will be able to gain a better understanding of how it is performing and also will serve to eliminate any potential surprises during the on-site assessment.  

  • Q. What is the difference between the Regulatory and non-regulatory sectors?
  • The key differences between the two are that the Regulatory sectors have a set of Regulations which are set out under the Tourist Traffic Acts while the non-regulatory sectors will have to complete the Standards and Code of Ethics. Both require that the minimum obligations must be met and will result in an approved property.

  • Q. Why are General Business Processes included?
  • By assessing the General Business Processes, there is now more focus on development and sustainability of a more customer-centric approach to a business’ service delivery.

    How a business is managed and planned underlies the experience the guest receives. These identify businesses that are serious about providing a quality tourism product. Not all processes need to be in place, but the more that are e.g. staff training and business planning, then the more successful and sustainable the business is likely to be. The assessor will not be expecting to view large quantities of documents but will look for clarity and consistency of approach to any key process (if the business has them, the assessor will view them, but not having them should not deter from receiving a good score).

    Sample templates will be available on the Fáilte Ireland website to view to assist the business.

  • Q. What to do if you don’t understand a question in the classification?
  • As you go through the classification questions, there will be a ? symbol beside each question which when clicked on, will direct you to an online document which will have examples and guidelines available to assist in providing the most informed response. If you require further information, you can contact the Quality Assurance Team on 0818 88 88 00 or you can also email qualityassurance@failteireland.ie.

  • Q. How does this work to get scored?
  • As previously stated, answers are points weighted but not all questions are. The Regulations, Standards, Code of Ethics and Minimum Requirements are not points weighted. It is only within the classification section that points are assigned. Each of the detailed criteria are assigned a numerical value to enable scoring of the overall guest experience to be undertaken by the assessor. These scores result in a percentage for each section and for the accommodation overall, leading to an overall rating for the business.

    The assessor will go through the same criteria questions that were asked during the selfassessment completed by the business. As the assessor will be able to see the score against each answer for the six sections individually, it will make for easy identification of where the business could make improvements or conversely where it is doing well. 

  • Q. Will I have to do a self-assessment every year?
  • No, you will not have to complete a self-assessment every year, unless you wish to change sector or rating of your property.

  • Q. Will the Quality Assurance logo change?
  • There is no change to the Quality Assurance logo for the Regulatory sectors (Caravan & Camping, Holiday Cottage, Holiday Apartment) but for the Non-Regulatory sectors, the logo will now be replaced with the Welcome Standard Logo.

  • Q. Will the Signage change?
  • In general the answer is no, except for the following instances:

    1. If you are changing sector.
    2. If changes have been made to your current classification/approval e.g. if you are a 1 or 2 Star Caravan Park, you will now have signage that states Approved Caravan & Camping Park.

    Note: Should a property prefer to keep their own sign e.g. to stay with self-catering sign rather than Welcome Standard you will not be forced to change, once it is of the same Rating. 

  • Glossary
  • Prescribed term: The Tourist Traffic Acts 1939-2016 specify that where certain terms are used to describe tourist accommodation, the proprietor using those terms must register with Fáilte Ireland.

    Regulations: Regulations are statutory requirements that must be adhered to whilst being registered with Fáilte Ireland.

    Standards: Standards are focused on qualitative and behavioural standards, the customer journey, meeting customer expectations and the quality of the experience. The standards are aimed at businesses that engage with their customers throughout all parts of the customer journey. The areas addressed have been designed to be comprehensive and are in line with domestic and international guest expectations. They focus on the fundamental guest-orientated aspects of the business.

    Code of Ethics: The Code of Ethics underpins the standards and identifies practices and procedures that are common to all successful, responsible and sustainable Irish tourist accommodation businesses.

    The Code of Ethics ensure that all the activities of the business are conducted with respect for the artistic, historic and cultural heritage of Ireland and where possible, integrate with and benefit the local community and environment, as well as ensuring excellent standards of customer service.

    Download the Code of Ethics [pdf, 3.8mb]

    Regulatory Sector: This is another word for Statutory which means any property calling themselves any of the following names:

    • Hotel
    • Caravan & Camping
    • Guest House
    • Holiday Cottage
    • Holiday Hostel
    • Holiday Apartment
    • Youth Hostel
    • Holiday Camp

    These sectors are governed by the Tourist Traffic Acts.

    Non-Regulatory Sector: This is another name for Non-Statutory which means any accommodation property that does not use a prescribed term.

    Trade Portal: The Trade Portal is Fáilte Ireland’s online self-service portal. Accommodation providers can use this facility to apply for Fáilte Ireland’s registration/approval of a new property and renew the Fáilte Ireland registration/approval for their business. It is also possible to sign up for events through the trade portal.

    Access the Trade Portal

    Points allocation explanation: In order to differentiate and reward businesses that are offering a higher level of service and quality, points are allocated to the various responses. Higher points are allocated to businesses that offer a greater service/quality.