Over the last few decades we have witnessed an increasing interest of scholars and especially operators in service quality in the lodging business. Firstly, it is important to observe that the diverseness of the hospitality industry also affects the classification of hotel quality. We can actually find many programmes, classifications and seals of quality promoted by public authorities and private companies that create confusion in the consumer perceptions of hotel quality. Moreover, new electronic distribution channels and their ratings are becoming a new way to gather information about a hotel and its quality. Secondly, a point that can cause complications is that different countries and regions can choose differing approaches depending on the features of the classification (number of levels, symbols used, etc.) and the nature of the programme (public, private). Considering these assumptions and the recent changes in the Italian hotel classification system, this paper aims to analyse the situation in Italy, underlining both its positive and negative aspects and comparing it with other European and North American cases. Based on a review of literature and tourism laws as well as personal interviews with public authorities and exponents of the private sectors, we were able to identify critical issues and trends in hotel classification systems. The comparison of case studies shows a heterogeneous situation. Points in common are the scale and the symbol used but, if we analyse the requirements of each category, we discover very different circumstances, also sometimes in the same country. A future European classification system could be possible only after a standardization of minimum requirements and criteria at a national level. In this situation brands and online consumers’ feedbacks become even more considered by the customers in the hospitality industry.