Hotel Online Special Report
Maintaining Your AAA Rating
by Harry Nobles, November  1999 

In a recent article, I offered some suggestions for keeping your property at the physical level expected for a particular AAA rating.  The physical attributes are very important, and include everything from the size of the bath soap to the quality and consistency of housekeeping.  Even with the most modern and luxurious  decor, furnishings, and amenities in place, a property can be denied an additional diamond or lose one due to service. 

Service deficiency can be in two areas: the absence of  a service,  or poor delivery.  Either carries the same risk, i.e. a potential negative impact on your rating.  My clients often ask, ďIs it better to provide a service poorly, or not provide it at all?Ē  In my opinion, it is never wise to provide any service poorly. My advice: if you cannot do it well,  donít do it at all.  What if it is a service that AAA requires at your targeted rating?  Second bit of free advice: figure out how to do it well, or donít do it at all.

I suggest that you first determine which services your guests want and are willing to pay for.   While I am not an advocate of providing services just to earn or keep a rating, that is sometimes a necessary evil,  and is of course a management decision.  Whatever your final decision on services to be provided, the next step is the same. 

I suggest you set up a training system that will enable your staff to provide the services consistently for every guest every time, as near to perfection as possible, and at an acceptable cost.   An effective training system will include a plan for periodic testing to be sure your established standards are met.  Mystery shopping is one way to evaluate the efficacy of your training.  Your training system should also include retraining and/or cross-training as needed.  Please donít overlook the opportunity to recognize and reward employees as appropriate.

As with physical requirements, the service expectations continue to rise, and maintaining your AAA rating never gets easier.  You can stay ahead of the game by getting an early start and following a continuous physical and services improvement program.

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: Earning a AAA Rating vs Maintaining a AAA Rating: Which Is More Difficult?  / Oct 1999
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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