AAA’s new criteria emphasize hotels’ technology capabilities. // © 2018 Getty Images
To reflect the importance of hotel technologies and their ability to help guests and lodging operators interact on a more personalized basis, AAA recently updated its hotel Approval Requirements & Diamond Rating Guidelines. These are the criteria inspectors use to evaluate more than 27,000 AAA Inspected & Approved hotels in the U.S., Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean.
Why It Matters:
Scores now consider the connective technology a property offers clients, including availability of free Wi-Fi access; USB ports; robust mobile apps; interactive kiosks; mobile key technology; and the availability of digital messaging services. AAA’s change to its guidelines recognizes the importance guests place on efficient digital connection, as well as the growing demand for highly customized service.
- The new guidelines were developed with input from AAA inspectors, members and industry professionals.
- Ratings previously given for the traditional business center have been replaced by a score for connective technology.
- AAA’s inspectors now also review a property’s technological capabilities, particularly guest request systems, as part of the anonymous overnight service evaluation they conduct at Five Diamond properties. Inspectors use the hotel’s digital systems during a stay, evaluating responsiveness, communication, presentation and follow-up.
- Additional changes to the Diamond Rating guidelines reflect the growth of open-concept lobby designs that have an increased focus on gathering spaces and social seating arrangements; the popularity of shower-only bathrooms; the use of modern materials, particularly for flooring; and the use of high-end details at midscale and budget properties (such as plush bedding, flat-screen televisions and sleek bathroom lighting).
- The new guidelines are currently in use by AAA’s professional inspectors and are available to hotels on www.AAA.biz/approved.
- AAA began field inspections of lodgings and restaurants in 1937; this evolved into the Diamond Ratings for hotels in 1976.
- More information about AAA Diamond Ratings can be found at www.AAA.com/Diamonds.
What They Are Saying:
“AAA members put a high value on the availability and use of convenient, leading-edge technology at hotels,” said Michael Petrone, director of AAA Inspections & Diamond Ratings. “They expect properties to have up-to-date devices and free internet access, but also for the hotel to connect with them via technology. Thanks to the proliferation and rapidly increasing sophistication of hotel mobile apps, guests today can do a lot right from their smartphones and tablets.”
“The updated guidelines reinforce AAA’s longstanding pledge to provide our members with reliable travel information through on-site inspections and accurate ratings for all AAA Inspected & Approved hotels,” Petrone added. “We include members in the review process to ensure the requirements reflect their expectations and the ratings emphasize their priorities.”