Hotel Online  Special Report
How Important is Service? 

Harry Nobles & Cheryl Thompson,  September 2001

In a word, VERY!  A recent and extremely gratifying experience reiterates this point.  Our client, a large and recently renovated hotel and conference center had twice failed to earn the AAA Four Diamond rating.  On both occasions, the inspector had lauded  the property’s outstanding physical facilities.  On both occasions, inconsistent service delivery had denied the higher rating.  
We were retained to shop the property, identify the potential for a Four Diamond rating, and recommend a plan of action.  Our evaluation confirmed that the physical facilities did support a higher rating.  We also concluded that guest service delivery was the problem.  
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Based on our recommendations, management implemented  specific service standards and a rigorous training program.  The property was awarded the higher rating at the next AAA inspection.

Concurrently, the hotel’s guests recognized and responded very favorably to the improvement in guest service.  Comment card scores increased dramatically, and a noticeable increase in repeat guests is also evident.  This happened despite a very tight  local market and lower rates offered by some competitors.  

Which is more important?  Getting the desired AAA rating or exceeding guests’ expectations?  Obviously, without a strong and loyal client base, AAA and Mobil ratings will not mean much in the long term.  

Whether your goal is a higher rating, exceeding your guests’ expectations, or a combination of both,  service can make a difference.  While even consistently superior guest service cannot overcome all physical deficiencies, it can have a significant impact on how your guests remember their experience.  Superior service delivery by an efficient and hospitable staff can be a major factor in a guest’s  decision to return to your property rather than  to try one of your competitors.  A reputation for superior service can also become an important part of your property’s unique image and identity.

Whatever your goal, I suggest you determine your current level of service, decide on the improvements needed, and devise a plan to accomplish those improvements.  

Service is always important,  and in this period of keen competition takes on an even more vital role.  Providing consistent service is neither cheap nor easy, but neither is replacing unhappy guests. 


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: Front Desk Service Mistakes / Aug 2001
Food & Beverage Mistakes & How to Correct Them / July 2001
Bell Staff Mistakes & How to Correct Them / July 2001 
Attitude vs Aptitude / June 2001
Female Business Travelers' Expectations / June 2001
Is Outsourcing Your Training a Viable Alternative? / June 2001
Unique Identity + Consistent Service = Success / May 2001
AAA Standards vs  Guests' Expectations / May 2001
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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