The Registration and Renewal of Registration Regulations for Hotels 2016, came into force on 1 August 2016. These long awaited regulations will have positive consequences for hoteliers. The headline change is a reduction in the minimum bedroom size to 14 sq. meters.

Fáilte Ireland has a statutory role in periodically revising the minimum standards for the regulation and registration of hotels in accordance with the Tourist Traffic Acts. These regulations were last revised by Fáilte Ireland in 2003 and have now been updated. The new minimum standards should assist hoteliers in developing and running more efficient hotels, particularly regarding bedroom size.

Guest Room Size

The revised guest room size is now 14 sq. meters (double room) and 18 sq. meters (triple room). This represents a reduction by 25% in the previous minimum requirements for room size. The shortage of hotel beds for tourists is one of the main reasons for the revision of the hotel regulations. The 2016 Regulations brings the Irish hotel room size in line with international norms.

Food and Drink

Regulations relating to the provision and service to guests of food and drink have also been revised. The previous mandatory condition that premises be capable of supplying dinner to its guests has been removed. Instead the business should be capable of providing food and drink to its guests. This change is designed to facilitate and encourage new accommodation products on the market to avail of Fáilte Ireland registration.

Compliance with Statute

The 2016 Regulations restate the requirement for any premises seeking registration as a hotel to comply with the legislative requirements under 8 main headings:

  1. Sanitation
  2. Food Hygiene (including European Regulations)
  3. Planning law
  4. Building Regulations
  5. Fire Safety
  6. Licensing law
  7. Water Services
  8. Health & Safety

Material Alteration

Regulation 9 restates that where building work has been carried out on the premises since 1 June 1992, which affects a material alteration or material change to the use of the premises, a local authority Fire Safety Certificate and an architect’s or engineer’s certificate of compliance with the fire safety provisions of the Building Regulations must be produced on an initial application for registration with Failte Ireland. Where a material alteration or material change of use occurs after the initial registration, these documents must be returned with the renewal form due by the next renewal date following the material alteration or material change of use.

Registration

The 2016 Regulations provide for a new designated website to allow easier access for hoteliers to register with Fáilte Ireland’s Register for Hotels, which is mandatory for premises which operate as a hotel.

Comment

The 2016 Regulations are a response to the changing behaviour of the consumer and aims to encourage the provision of new and innovative hotels, which reflect contemporary consumer preferences.

The new regulations should facilitate competition between new types of offerings in the accommodation market by permitting these businesses to be registered in the same way as a hotel.

The new regulations should also remove any uncertainty which hoteliers and developers may have previously had on Government policy in this sector. Now that the Regulations are live this should hopefully encourage completion of plans on CAPEX for existing hotels and the development of new hotels.

It is anticipated that the next project will be a revision of the classification of hotels by Fáilte Ireland.