|by Harry Nobles, June, 1999
Clients often ask me about the impact of guest service on the AAA 4
and 5 Diamond rating. Can exceptional service compensate for physical
deficiencies? The answer is never a definite “yes” or “no”; like
most questions dealing with the nuances and intricacies of the rating system,
it is not that quite that simple. While exceptional guest services
consistently delivered by a cordial and professional staff can sometimes
help to compensate for some marginal physical deficiencies, service should
never be seen as a substitute for physical requirements. Even
the most consistent excellent and personalized service cannot offset
dated and worn decor or furnishings. It can, however, be a major
contributing factor in the final rating decision. Exceptional guest
services can sometimes make the difference between a 3 and 4 Diamond
or a 4 and 5 Diamond rating.
While both service and physical expectations must meet AAA’s exacting
rating standards, I have found that guests are often influenced more by
the way they are treated by your staff than by the opulence of your property.
After all, there are thousands of magnificent hotels all over the
world; guest-oriented, caring, professionally competent, dedicated,
and hospitable employees are more rare.