AAA makes changes to Diamond hotel ratings

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Hotel front desk
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AAA has revamped its AAA Diamond Program that rates hotels and restaurants, replacing some of its ratings with designations.

What were One and Two Diamond hotels and restaurants will now get an “Approved” designation. Three, Four and Five Diamond hotels and restaurants will retain their designations.

AAA indicated there's a perception that a lower-end Diamond rating means poor quality, and that isn't the case.

“We’re consolidating the One and Two Diamond ratings into the new 'Approved' designation because other rating systems include poor quality properties in their inventory and travelers equate low ratings with low quality,” said AAA public relations manager Julie Hall. “In contrast, AAA excludes poor quality options, ensuring every Diamond property is a good choice.”

AAA said its 2020 inspections will determine all properties’ future designation. It has modernized guidelines, removing Coutdated criteria in favor of factors that more directly relate to guest comfort, design and industry trends,” AAA said in a statement.

For example, inspectors will look at storage space and shelving in guestrooms instead of printed guest information and ironing boards.

Almost 60,000 properties in the U.S., Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean are part of the Diamond Program (27,000 are hotels and 30,000 are restaurants). To be included, an establishment must pass an unannounced, on-site evaluation, where hotels are graded for cleanliness, comfort and hospitality. Restaurants are evaluated for cleanliness, food preparation and service.

AAA said 28% of the hotels in the program are Approved, 63% are Three Diamond properties, 6.5% are Four Diamond properties and 0.4% are Five Diamond properties. Seventy-one percent of restaurants are Approved, 36% are Three Diamond, 2.3% are Four Diamond and 0.2% are Five Diamond.

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