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Confessions Of An Accommodation Star Ratings Reviewer

No, you can't have her job.

23/01/2017 2:16 PM AEDT | Updated 27/01/2017 9:15 AM AEDT
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Don't leave this guest waiting at reception.

There are just three people in Australia qualified to review hotels, resorts and other accommodation for Star Ratings Australia.

And before you ask how to snag one of those roles, accommodation ratings reviewer Margaret Milbourne told The Huffington Post Australia she wasn't giving up her role any time soon.

"You know what? It certainly is my dream job and I feel lucky every day," Milbourne told The Huffington Post Australia.

"I've been doing this 11 years and I never get tired of it."

It's Milbourne's job to thoroughly review hotels, motels, self catered accommodation, caravan parks and BnBs to determine whether they're up to the standard of a three-, four- or five-star experience.

And when we say thorough, we mean it.

"When it comes to quality, we will look at something like the carpet, and ask: is it a nylon, or a wool blend or pure wool? If it is pure wool, does it have an underlay? Details like that determine the quality of a room."

Jamie Grill
No detail is left unchecked.

Milbourne and co go well beyond the blogger-style review to drill down into every fibre of an accommodation experience, and it's not over the course of a lazy weekend, with cocktail in hand.

"While it would be ideal to stay overnight at every hotel, we are already on the road for about two thirds of the year," Milbourne said.

"Depending on the size of a property, it can take anywhere from a few hours to half a day. One caravan park property was so big it took me a day and a half."

If we're on a trip more than 100km away from home, we will stay at all sorts of accommodation -- hotels, motels, caravan parks depending on the location and the price because we do have a budget."

And of all the incredible properties she's toured, what's her favourite place to stay in her own time?

"That is a very personal thing that I often get asked," Milbourne said.

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A reviewer doesn't reveal their favourite.
"I'm a star rating reviewer, and when I'm working, we strictly put our personal opinions aside. I don't want to come across as having a favourite, but in my books, it could be a three-star cottage instead of a large hotel because it has the right ambiance."

As for the biggest changes she's seen in the 11 years in the role, it's the rise of the lax experts.

"Customers are far more discerning," she said.

"People want very good value for money but they also want the standard to be high of facilities, quality, cleanliness. They can go online and find so much information to compare these days."

She said the long sessions on the road could be tiring, but it was the hospitality owners that gave her strength.

Martin Barraud via Getty Images
Reviewing involves a lot of travel.

"I guess the only way to keep a balance of personal life and professional life is to try to combine, say, two or three weeks on the road and then I'll stay at home for a week. I'm quite lucky I don't have kids so I can do that.

"Really it is so great to get to travel -- some of the communities I go to are so strong and the people I get to work with give me strength as well.

"Helping people gives me such job satisfaction and now, I feel like I'm not so much a reviewer as a consultant."

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