Hotel Online Special Report
Is a Higher AAA Rating Right 
for Your Property?
by Harry Nobles, September 1999 

When  I was at AAA the question  I was most often asked by owners and managers was  “How can I get a higher rating?”  My answer then and now is the same:  “Before you think about a higher rating, you should first determine if your property is already at its optimum rating.”  I define optimum  rating as the rating at which your property is best positioned to compete with local competition in both price and product, and which can be sustained over a period of time.  

While earning a higher rating may be great for the ego,  it may not be financially feasible in the long term.  I suggest you consider the following points if you are thinking about a higher rating:  (1) What physical and/or service enhancements are needed to earn the higher rating?  (2) What will these improvements cost?  (3)  Can your raise your  rates  enough to offset this cost?  If the answers to these questions are favorable, you should then consider your current clientele.   Why are they staying at your property?   If you have to raise your rates to recoup the cost of the higher rating, will you lose any of your repeat guests?  Replacing lost business can be very expensive.

You should also be aware that 80% of AAA members choose to stay at 2 or 3 Diamond rated properties.  If your property is already at this level, it might be more practical to focus on maintaining your current rating.  In today’s very competitive and rapidly changing market, maintaining your current rating becomes more difficult and more expensive every year.  This is particularly true for older properties.  

If, after doing the things recommended above,  you determine that a higher rating is right for your operation, you should certainly go for it.  I wish you all success!

Harry Nobles Hospitality Consulting
POC:  Harry Nobles
Phone:  757-564-3761
Fax:        757-564-0076
Pager:  800-577-7468  PIN# 303-9130
  • 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: Remaining Hospitable in an Inhospitable World / August 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
Mobil Travel Guide Announces 1998 Mobil Four-and Five-Star Award Winners / Jan 1998 
Are Your Employees Checking Out As Fast As Your Guests / Setting Up an Effective Training Program / Harry Nobles / May 1999 
"AAA" - Hotel Online Viewpoint Forum
The Legend of the Pineapple / Harry Nobles / Feb 1999 
To Harry Nobles Hospitality Consulting Index Page

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