Hotel Online  Special Report
Rating Condominiums

Harry Nobles & Cheryl Griggs - January 2006

Is the current AAA condo rating policy adequate?  Is it fair to the operator, and to the travelers who depend on AAA ratings?  If not, what can be done to improve the system and make it more responsive to the needs of both?

AAA currently uses such terminology as “extended stay”, “apartment style”, “varying décor and design”, “multi-bedroom”, and “off-site registration” to describe and define condominium properties, and has created a separate and distinct CONDOMINIUM classification.  The AAA Diamond Ratings Guidelines apply the same criteria to condominiums as it does to other lodgings.

In other words, the same rating requirements and expectations apply to condominium operations and to non-condominiums alike. Therefore all lodgings compete equally on the proverbial level playing field, right?  Sounds fair to me.  After all, a condominium is just another lodging property with multiple owners; or is it more?  Are there other differences; or are there just distinctions without a difference?  

Should condos be given special treatment solely on the basis of ownership?  I have never believed that a condominium should be either rewarded or penalized from the ratings perspective.  This belief began during my AAA tenure when I dealt with condos from New England ski resorts to beach resorts in the south, and was subsequently involved in formulating and implementing AAA’s initial policy on condo rating.

Despite inspecting hundreds of condos, individual meetings with dozens of condo owners and managers, and  participation at several lodging association meetings, I still believe that the only substantial difference between a condo and a non-condo is the style of ownership.

Since rating organizations and guests deal primarily with the on-site  property management rather than the owners or investors, I have never been persuaded that ownership should be a rating factor.  I am, however, still open to opposing argument, and we would welcome comments.

In our opinion, if a condominium property is clean, well maintained, well managed, and  provides the atmosphere and quality of service expected at a particular diamond/star level, ownership should not impact the rating.

We regularly get questions from condominimum managers and homeowners associations asking why their property must meet the same rating standards as others, and how to get special treatment from AAA or MOBIL

We always advise them to focus on educating their homeowners on the value of a AAA or MOBIL rating.  In our experience, most condo owners/investors do not have a lodging background, and usually need to be convinced that a major expenditure to meet certain ratings criteria is actually a very sound investment.  We have found that owners are often more willing to invest in physical and service improvements when they better appreciate that a AAA or MOBIL rating can add to their revenue.


Harry Nobles & Cheryl Griggs
(877) 220-4260

Also See: AAA Five Diamond Lodgings; Chain vs Independent / November 2005
Katrina & Rita: Silver Lining or Opportunity? / Harry Nobles & Cheryl Griggs / October 2005
Our Dream Hotel / Harry Nobles & Cheryl Griggs / July 2005
Losing a Diamond or Star / Harry Nobles & Cheryl Griggs /  March 2005
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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