Hotel Online Special Report
Earning a AAA Rating vs 
Maintaining a AAA Rating: 
Which Is More Difficult?
E-mail:  [email protected]
by Harry Nobles, October 1999  

The simple answer: maintaining the rating  is more difficult.  There are several reasons why this is true.  Major factors include changing ratings criteria and rising guest expectations.  The 4-Diamond hotel of the early 1990’s is today’s 3-Diamond.  This is true at all rating levels. 

Physical facilities play a key role in determining  a property’s overall rating;  as a property ages it becomes increasingly more expensive to maintain the status quo.  As new hotels with state of the art accommodations and amenities come on line, they become the standard by which all ratings are determined.   As  guests experience these new properties, their expectations rise, and the rating organizations’ criteria must keep pace with the change. 

The same is true of guest services.  As managers become more innovative in the range and quality of services provided to guests, maintaining a rating becomes more difficult.  There is no indication that this is going to change.  I would predict that the current trend will continue and that it will be even more difficult to maintain your rating next year than it was last year. 

Given this situation, what can you do to retain your current rating?  I suggest you keep abreast of industry standards of decor, furnishings, equipment,  and guest services.  This is often easier for franchises than for independents, as chains usually follow trends and keep their properties apprised of the latest changes. 

If you are an independent operator, you have several sources of information, including attending trade shows, reading trade publications, visiting new properties, and  participating in your local lodging association.  You may also want to consider seeking expert advice.  I think the best approach is a combination of all these.  Remember the old cliché: “knowledge is power."  The more you know  the better you can compete. 

While you work to keep your property’s physical facilities up to par, do not forget that guest service is an important factor in determining the AAA rating.    This topic will be discussed in more detail in future articles. 

My final suggestion is that your physical renovation and service improvement programs be regular and continuous.  Change is constant; your response must be likewise.

Harry Nobles Hospitality Consulting
POC:  Harry Nobles
E-mail:  [email protected]
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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