Event organizers and attendees now have a more accurate tool at their disposal to select hotels and dining outlets: AAA has overhauled its highly acclaimed AAA Diamond Program to eliminate unverified and biased ratings.
The updated program replaces ratings with designations to distinguish AAA’s professional content from user ratings and opinions that appear on many websites. As in the past, professionally trained, expert inspectors analyze the hotels and restaurants seeking a designation. The inspectors use criteria that better reflect the latest in traveler expectations and industry trends, AAA said in a release, such as looking for sufficient storage space and shelving for clothes and personal belongings in guest rooms.
To receive a designation, hotels and restaurants must meet AAA’s high standards of cleanliness, comfort, and hospitality. The designations are Approved, Three Diamond, Four Diamond, or the highest, Five Diamond. According to AAA, Five Diamond hotels offer “world-class luxury, amenities, and indulgence for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.” Restaurants at that level offer “leading-edge cuisine, ingredients, and preparation with extraordinary service and surroundings.”
Under the new system, hotels and restaurants with one or two diamonds will transition to the approved designation while three-, four-, and five-diamond establishments will retain their designations.
AAA said the 2020 inspection cycle will decide what designation the properties have in the future.
The program looks at nearly 60,000 properties in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean, including almost 27,000 hotels and more than 30,000 restaurants.