Hotel Online  Special Report
Losing a Diamond or Star

March 2005

No owner or manager is ever happy to have their hotel’s AAA or MOBIL rating lowered, but how bad is it?   How much does it directly affect occupancy, daily rate, or the property’s image and prestige?  Does it have any impact on guest satisfaction which, in our opinion, is the most important factor in the equation? 

Loyal repeat guests will rarely forsake you solely on the basis of a lost star or diamond; their patronage was probably not based totally on the rating anyway.  They have patronized your property over the years because they liked the product, service and atmosphere you offered.  They will continue to do so as long as you give them what made them happy in the first place.

Experts, that is owners and managers, tell us that rates are influenced more by location, local competition, operating costs, and general market conditions than by any AAA or MOBIL rating.  The rating may be an important element in establishing daily rates, but it is still only one element. 

Property image and prestige are certainly important considerations, but may in fact be more important to owners’ and managers’ ego than to guests.  There is also the little known fact that AAA TourBook and MOBIL Travel Guide users do not get a new publication every year.  Guests and potential guests do not always know your property’s current rating. 

An interesting irony is that a lower rating sometimes has a positive effect on guest satisfaction.  Guest have different expectations at a 3 Star/Diamond property than at a 4 Star/Diamond, and you may better meet or even exceed their expectations at the new level.  After all, they liked the experience because of you and your staff not because of the rating.

We hope no one interprets this to imply that your rating is not important.  While ratings are very important and are often a factor in a property’s success, even a high rating will not guarantee success.  Likewise a lower rating or no rating at all does not mean failure; there are many well known, well managed, and very successful lodging operations that have never had a AAA or MOBIL rating, and do not want one.

What options are available if you lose or expect to lose a star or diamond?  You can always accept the decision and move on.  You can contact the rating organization to appeal and try to get another chance or a delay.  You can assess the situation to determine what corrective action is possible and practical to get your rating restored.

If you elect the third option, we suggest you do the usual numbers crunching to weigh the costs of retaining the higher rating against realistic return on the investment, just as you do with all your other decisions.

We do not advocate doing anything just to earn or retain a rating, and never advise our clients do so.  We believe that guest satisfaction is always paramount.  If you continue to give your guests the same experience that earned their loyalty in the first place most of them will remain loyal, despite rating changes.


Cheryl Griggs & Harry Nobles
(757) 871-5899

Also See: Ratings vs Guest Satisfaction / Harry Nobles & Cheryl Griggs / February 2005
Our "Pick of the Month" / Harry Nobles & Cheryl Griggs / November 2004
5 Star vs 5 Diamond: What’s the Difference? / Harry Nobles & Cheryl Griggs / November 2004
Strategic Alliance Announced, Committed to Hospitality Excellence / August 2004
Family Resorts: Suggested Strategies / Cheryl Griggs / July 2004
Are Small Resorts Unfairly Treated by the AAA and Mobil Rating Criteria / July 2004
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 
To Harry Nobles Hospitality Consulting Index Page

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