Hotel Online  Special Report
AAA's Delay: Good or Bad?

Harry Nobles & Cheryl Thompson Griggs,  July 2002

AAA’s recent announcement to delay implementation of the latest revision of the Diamond Rating Guidelines has prompted calls and emails from many of our clients.  The most frequently asked questions are “How does this affect my rating”? and “Is this good or bad news for my property”?
The simple answer is that the news is good. If your property has been advised by AAA that your current rating is in jeopardy,  you now have an additional year to address changes that affect the rating.  Even if your rating is not jeopardized, this is good time to review your rating status and what physical and service 
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enhancements are necessary  to retain it or you may aspire to earn a higher rating.

Our professional assessment is that the delay is most beneficial to existing properties that already have a AAA rating.  The delay does not necessarily make it easier for new properties to earn and retain a higher rating.  The industry should expect to see a continuing increase in the rating requirements and expectations.  This is not news to managers and owners who have witnessed so many changes in the physical facilities and guest services at all rating levels in the past several years.

AAA has regularly revised and updated its ratings criteria to keep pace with these changes, and no doubt will continue to do so.  We feel confident in predicting that competition will drive guest expectations and AAA’s rating standards ever higher.  The industry will respond as it always has by building more sophisticated hotels and providing more extensive services.  Hence, the upward spiral continues;  yesterday’s 5 Diamond becomes today’s 4 Diamond,  a 4 drops to 3, and so on.

It is important to remember that AAA’s moratorium is only for one year.  Once the 2001 version on the Diamond Rating Guidelines are implemented in 2003, the more exacting requirements will affect all properties at all diamond levels.

While AAA’s decision to delay implementation of the  latest revision does not make it easier to earn and retain a higher rating, it is an appropriate, fair, and reasoned response to  the  9/11 tragedy.  It gives properties some breathing room to deal with the effects of the event.  

One way to use this time is to assess your current rating status and how it affects your position in the market. 

Your property’s AAA rating and market position is always important and in light of 9/11, this may be a particularly opportune time to look closely at your rating and the cost to maintain that rating in view of the higher AAA standards. 


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: Timing Is Everything, Or Is It? / July 2002 
Boutique Hotels: Have They Gone Too Far / May 2002
People Really Do Make the Difference / Jan 2002
What Is a Boutique Hotel? / Dec 2001
The Non-negotiable Traits of Leaders / Oct 2001 
How Important is Service? / Sept 2001
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 
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