AAA Delays New Lodging Criteria Until 2003; Cites 9/11 as Reason

ORLANDO, Fla.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–June 26, 2002–Citing the unprecedented effect of post-Sept. 11 travel woes, AAA has decided to delay the implementation of its new lodging Diamond Rating guidelines for one year until 2003.
The downturn in the travel industry late last year has made it difficult for lodgings to keep up with the demands of industry trends and changing consumer expectations, said Michael Petrone, director, AAA Tourism Information Development.
We see this announcement as an important step in preserving the public's trust in AAA, while allowing the industry time to recover, said Petrone.
AAA reviews and revises its Lodging Requirements & Diamond Rating Guidelines periodically to reflect significant changes within the industry. New guidelines are then sent to all rated properties so they can begin to implement any necessary changes in facilities or services.
Properties usually have at least one year to make changes prior to any Diamond rating adjustment based on the updated guidelines. AAA's recent action gives all properties one additional year to implement changes.
The newest edition of the Diamond rating guidelines was sent to rated properties in August 2001, just weeks before the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, D.C. Implementation of those guidelines will now be held until next year. Evaluations will continue to be based on the current guidelines, which went into effect in 1998.
AAA is optimistic about the future of travel and believes that deferring the implementation of these guidelines will provide ample time for properties to make necessary changes to remain competitive and meet guest expectations, said Petrone.
AAA's 65 full-time, professional Tourism Editors evaluate more than 40,000 lodgings, restaurants and attractions annually. AAA Diamond Ratings appear in many of AAA's 250 travel guidebooks as well as its Online TourBook(R) and Internet TripTik(R)/AAA Traveler products.
As North America's largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides 44 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers.