the AAA and Mobil Rating Criteria
|July 12, 2004 - Will your lodging operation benefit from
a AAA or Mobil rating? Is it worth your time, money, and effort to
meet AAA and Mobil’s exacting criteria for a specific rating?
With more than 40 million members using AAA TourBooks and many thousands
of Mobil Travel Guides purchased every year, there can be no doubt that
approval by these prestigious organizations brings guests to your door.
This is more true for some type properties than for others; many roadside
motels depend heavily on AAA for a majority of their overnight guests.
This is also true for many independent resorts in destination areas.
In our professional opinion AAA’s best decision in recent years was to establish and implement The Diamond Rating Guidelines. This action by AAA has assured and greatly improved ratings consistency and credibility. This was done during my tenure, and I still take great pride in the role I played in the developing the ratings standards. That said, we do see a potential downside to detailed rating standards if they are too rigidly applied with no room for deviation.
Is there a place for smaller, independent lodging properties that do not fit the traditional mold? Are some properties so different, even to the point of being unique, that they are automatically precluded from gaining more than a minimum rating? Is there a way to bring these into the fold without totally ignoring established AAA and Mobil standards?
Our experience shows that this problem is most prevalent among smaller, family-owned resorts, and is not confined to US properties. We have also seen it with clients in the Caribbean and Mexico.
There are many excellent small resorts that have built up an enviable record of guest loyalty over 2-3 generations. We have seen cases where the grandchildren of former employees are today hosting the grandchildren of former guests. This has created a warm and genuine sense of shared experience, and these properties enjoy a high percentage of repeat business. The guest experience is truly memorable and deserving of appropriate recognition by the rating organizations. The facilities, accommodations, and amenities are exactly what the guests want. The atmosphere and services bring the guests back year after year.
Unfortunately, many of these charming gems are unable to meet basic AAA and Mobil criteria. Common recurring problems are limited guestroom and bathroom size, lack of certain pieces of required furniture, and decor more in keeping with a bygone era than with 21st century expectations. Sometimes this results in disapproval. Other times the property owner is told the maximum rating would be a 2 Diamonds, when a 4 Diamond rating is amply justified by the overall guest experience. Many owners opt for no rating rather than one they consider unfair and inconsistent with their image and reputation. This is unfortunate because it denies the property deserved recognition and limits potential guests’ choice.
Is there a solution to this inequity? A few years ago, AAA overcame a similar problem with B&B’s and country inns by creating a special classification with its own rating standards. Perhaps it is time to consider a separate category for small family owned and operated resorts. The basic ratings requirements would still be applicable, with some concessions allowed to give these special and truly deserving places a more level playing field.
We hope AAA will address this matter with the same fairness and insight it displayed with B&B’s and country inns.
|Also See:||Designing For Optimum Global Ratings / Cheryl Griggs / June 2004|
|QualAsia Formed to Provide Authoritative Organization to Inspect and Evaluate Hotels Across Asia; Harry Nobles Appointed Chairman of New Asian Hotel Rating Service / May 2004|
|Validity of Online Hotel Ratings / Cheryl Griggs / April 2004|
|Resorts Ratings Redux / Harry Nobles & Cheryl Griggs / February 2004|
|Are Your Trainers Trained? / Harry Nobles & Cheryl Thompson Grigg / January 2004|
|The Language of Service / Cheryl Griggs / October 2003|
|Hotel Renovation Ideas vs AAA Ratings Criteria / Harry Nobles / October 2003|
|New Employee Orientation: Necessity or Luxury? / July 2003|
|Save the Best - Replace the Rest / July 2003|
|AAA and Mobil Ratings As a Sales Tool / May 2003|
|How Well Do You Know Your Competitor? / May 2003|
|Our Favorite Hotel? / March 2003|
|The Current Value of AAA Hotel Ratings / Feb 2003|
|Stars and Diamonds; Some Similarities and Some Differences / January 2003|
|AAA's Delay: Good or Bad? / July 2002|
|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|