Hotel Online  Special Report
AAA Standards vs 
Guests' Expectations

How closely do AAA 4 and 5 Diamond service standards match the expectations of your guests?  Are there any inconsistencies? 

In my opinion, AAA has done a very creditable job of identifying the services expected at 4 and 5 Diamond lodgings.  While I do not agree with all of them  now, and did not agree with all of them when I helped create the AAA Diamond Ratings Guidelines,  I do believe the service standards generally represent guests’ expectations.  Over time, the AAA standards have kept pace with a rapidly changing industry.  Both service and physical expectations have risen over time, and will no doubt continue to do so.
AAA tries to keep pace with change the same way they compiled the initial version of the Rating Guidelines. They combine input from the industry, guest research data, and the experience of inspectors who visit and evaluate the several thousand AAA approved properties.  This 
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worked well with the original edition, and will work well for the future. 

Are there any AAA standards that are of little or no importance to guests?  Some hotel employees will tell you that the use of guests’ names is more important to AAA and other rating organizations than it is to guests.  I believe this is based on subjective anecdotal information and is sometimes used as an excuse for not using guests’surnames.  Guest research data indicates that name usage is important to guests, and has become a hallmark of superior personalized guest service at most world- class hotels.

There may be some AAA service standards that are not of paramount importance to all your guests; there may be some you think are not practical or applicable to your operation.  However, the standards used today are generally relevant to most properties.  

Often the application of a particular standard will be more important for one type of property than another.  For example, in a property catering to the business traveler, the availability of a separate data-port line or even high-speed Internet access in the guest rooms is expected, while in a facility catering to the leisure traveler, separate data-ports are not as important. 

As guest expectations grow and evolve in light of the changing personal and cultural preferences of today’s travelers, so too will the AAA Diamond Rating Standards. The key to success, as it has always been,  is keeping up with the pace of ever-changing industry standards.

The rapidly growing number of female business travelers has also put new demands on the hotel industry. Is your property living up to their expectations? AAA requirements may not yet reflect these needs,  but that does not lessen the degree of guest expectation.  Anticipating guest needs, and therefore, future AAA requirements is what distinguishes superior service from merely adequate service. 


Harry Nobles Hospitality Consulting
POC:  Harry Nobles
Phone:  757-564-3761
Fax:        757-564-0076

  • Former head of AAA Lodging/Dining Ratings Program. 
  • An independent consultant serving the hospitality industry. 
  • A Special Training Consultant to the Educational Institute, American Hotel/Motel Association
Also See: Are Your Guests Better Informed Than Your Staff? / April 2001
Are U.S. Hotels Rated Differently From Other North American Hotels? / April 2001
The Design Theme - AAA / Mobil Ratings Connection / March 2001
Attitude Can Make the Difference / January 2001
How Should Casino-Hotels be Rated? / Dec 2000
Does AAA Rate Resorts Fairly? / Nov 2000
Is Your Property Suffering From Design Deficiency? / Nov 2000 
The Future of AAA Ratings / September 2000
What Is Your Optimum AAA Rating / August 2000
If You Disagree With Your AAA Rating…../ June 2000
Are AAA Ratings Always Accurate and Objective / May 2000
Creating Atmosphere / Jan 2000
What is "Atmosphere"? / December 1999
Maintaining Your AAA Rating / Nov 1999
Earning a AAA Rating vs Maintaining a AAA Rating: Which Is More Difficult?  / Oct 1999
Can Outstanding Service Offset Hotel Physical Deficiencies in the Rating Systems? / Harry Nobles / June 1999 
Consistency: The Hallmark of a Fine Hotel / September 1999
Who Should Train Your Employees  / Aug 2000 
Mobil Travel Guide Announces 1998 Mobil Four-and Five-Star Award Winners / Jan 1998 
Key to Success: Training + Follow-Up / June 2000
The Legend of the Pineapple / Harry Nobles / Feb 1999 
To Harry Nobles Hospitality Consulting Index Page

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