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If You Disagree With Your AAA Rating…..

by Harry Nobles, June 2000

Whether your property is rated at one diamond or five diamonds,  at some point you will question AAA’s rating decision.   What are your options when you disagree with the results of the annual evaluation?

AAA has an internal committee to review and resolve appeals from lodging, restaurant, and campground operators.  This committee considers each case individually and is empowered to support or reject an appeal based on the information available.

While the appeals committee is a good forum for resolving rating disputes, I  believe there is a better way.   In my experience and opinion, the best way to address a rating disagreement is with the AAA inspector; the best time is during or immediately following the annual visit.  Since inspections are unannounced, there will be some occasions when this is not possible.  You may be off the property or not immediately available to meet with the inspector.  If you are on property I encourage you to make an effort to meet with the inspector at least for an exit interview.

Personally , I always got a negative impression when an owner or manager chose not to talk to me when I was on the property, but wrote a letter weeks later to question my findings. I always tried to ensure that my professional evaluation was not influenced, but the impression was there.

If you are not available, I suggest that your assistant managers and other key staff be prepared to fill in for you, and arrange for you and the inspector to discuss the inspection as soon as possible.  A phone conversation a few days later is better than written communication with the appeals committee weeks later.  

When you discuss the inspection results with the inspector,  I suggest you address the specific items, and be candid and thorough about your plans for future corrective actions.  A rehash of what you did last year serves no worthwhile purpose.

While the appeals committee process is always available, I believe the best option is direct, open, and timely communication with the inspector.  


Harry Nobles Hospitality Consulting
POC:  Harry Nobles
Phone:  757-564-3761
Fax:        757-564-0076

  • 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: Are AAA Ratings Always Accurate and Objective / May 2000
The Unsung Heroes / Feb 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
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 
The Legend of the Pineapple / Harry Nobles / Feb 1999 
To Harry Nobles Hospitality Consulting Index Page

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