What can hotel managers do to prepare for their first or next unscheduled AAA inspection? “Since there are no secrets about how AAA inspections are conducted, planning ahead is within grasp of all hoteliers,” says Michael Petrone, AAA’s director of Inspections and Diamond Ratings.
Petrone shares six straightforward strategies gathered from some of the seasoned experts who conduct on-site evaluations on a daily basis across the United States, Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean.
#AAAInspector 55 – “Review the published AAA Approval Requirements & Diamond Rating Guidelines for Lodgings to understand the difference between Approval Requirements and Diamond Rating Guidelines. You won’t pass inspection without meeting the minimum Approval Requirements, and you won’t get a Diamond Rating without passing inspection.”
#AAAInspector 591 – “Be sure your staff knows how to respond when a AAA inspector arrives. Be engaged and available. Join the inspector on a walk through of your parking lot and public areas, and provide access to standard guestrooms within 20 minutes of arrival. Observe your environment and service experience from an outsider’s perspective.”
#AAAInspector 24 – “Take advantage of opportunities to discuss your evaluation results with the inspector. If your property is already AAA Diamond Rated, review your last inspection report well in advance of your next visit to ensure any warnings and areas of concern are resolved.”
#AAAInspector 31 —“Pay close attention to your property’s cleanliness and condition. A clean, well-maintained environment is the top requirement for AAA/CAA’s 59 million members. Properties that don’t meet this key requirement won’t pass inspection and can be disaffiliated immediately without warning.”
#AAAInspector 555 – “If you operate a luxury property and seek a Five Diamond Rating, make sure you have both the physical attributes and amenities typical of that level and an established service culture that offers guests a high level of personalized services and experiences.”
#AAAInspector 46 – “Review all customer feedback. AAA’s Member Relations department tracks member comments and investigates each complaint thoroughly, contacting properties as needed to resolve any issue. Take advantage of this unique opportunity to interact with and rebuild trust with AAA members. Properties with unresolved or too many complaints may be disaffilated from our program.”
Hotels that pass inspection are designated as AAA Inspected & Approved and then receive a Diamond Rating. This two-part process eliminates substandard properties from consideration. Every AAA Inspected & Approved property meets the same basic standards for cleanliness and comfort. The number of Diamonds reflects the kind of experience offered, from no-frills to ultimate luxury.
About the Author
Bill Wood is vice president and executive editor of Travel Information & Content Publishing at AAA, which has conducted and published the results of on-site hotel and restaurant inspections since 1937. Hotels can learn about their free listings in AAA’s digital and print travel information products and optional marketing programs to increase visibility and direct bookings at AAA.biz/Approved.