Hotel's technology now a factor in AAA ratings

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AAA has updated the guidelines its inspectors use to evaluate hotels in the U.S., Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean, taking into account the need for connectivity and technology, among other things.

For instance, ratings that were previously given for a business center have been replaced with a score for "connective technology," reflecting the hotel's capacity to connect with its guests, AAA said. That includes things like free WiFi, USB ports, mobile apps, mobile key technology, kiosks and digital messaging services.

In addition, inspectors now review the technological capabilities has at Five Diamond properties, especially looking at guest-request systems.

"Inspectors use the hotel's digital systems during their stay and evaluate responsiveness, communication, presentation and follow-up," AAA said.

While technology was the focus of the updated guidelines, several other trends were taken into consideration: the popularity of open-concept lobbies and shower-only bathrooms and details like bedding, large TVs and bathroom lighting.

AAA has hired inspectors to report on hotels and restaurants in 1937. Its first rating system for hotels was introduced in 1963, and in 1977 AAA added the diamond symbol for its 75th anniversary. The Diamond Rating system was expanded to include restaurants in 1989.

AAA inspects and approves more than 27,000 hotels.

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