Some Ratings a Marketing Ploy
|ORLANDO, Fla. - Dec. 6, 2004 -- The vast amount of information that
makes the Internet so attractive to travelers also is causing confusion
when it comes to choosing a lodging online, AAA said today.
"With nearly everyone using a star to designate a ranking level," said Michael Petrone, director, AAA Tourism Information Development, "consumers often can't distinguish one system's star from another, making it nearly impossible to know whether the ratings are impartial or a marketing ploy."
As head of AAA's well known Diamond Rating program, Petrone leads the organization's group of professional evaluators who physically inspect hotels in North America. AAA's team of 65 full-time evaluators collectively travel more than a million miles per year to inspect more than 55,000 lodgings and restaurants for the AAA Diamond Ratings(R) program.
AAA has been evaluating hotels and restaurants with full-time inspectors since 1937, and trademarked its Diamond Ratings when they were introduced in 1976.
"The purpose of evaluating and rating lodgings and restaurants is to help travelers make informed decisions," said Petrone. "For this reason, it is important online travel companies be able to disclose what their ratings mean and how they are determined.
"When travelers see a Diamond Rated property, they can be confident that one of AAA's trained, professional evaluators visited the property and went through a lengthy process of checking the hotel against a detailed list of criteria and guidelines.
"On the other hand, one large hotel booking Web site is spending millions of dollars on a national advertising campaign touting a non-existent team of hotel evaluators. While intended to be humorous, this campaign draws attention to what has become a concern for consumers - companies that don't physically check out the hotels they rate."
To assist travelers who have difficulty deciding what many of these rankings really mean, AAA offers these tips when searching for a hotel online.
As North America's largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 47 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers.
|Also See:||Online Lodging Reviewer, TripAdvisor, Ranks Top Hotels Worldwide, Based on the Quantity and Quality of Information Found on the Web / February 2004|
|Hotel Executives Starting to Review Online Lodging Reviews; Comments Like God awful and Run away as fast as you can May or May Not Be Objective / February 2004|