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Diamonds are clear choice for travelers: New AAA Diamond Program revealed

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Mon, Jan 27th 2020 12:30 pm

Program backed by professional travel experts using member-driven criteria recommends only clean, comfortable, hospitable hotels & restaurants

By AAA of Western and Central New York

AAA is unveiling a transformed, contemporized version of its acclaimed AAA Diamond Program. The program will remain backed by professionally trained inspectors using member-driven criteria to recommend only clean, comfortable, hospitable hotels and restaurants.

What is new? Replacing ratings with designations. A Diamond designation reflects AAA’s professional inspector reviews using updated, member-centric guidelines, setting the program apart from services that leverage unverified, often biased hotel and restaurant ratings.

“We’ve transformed the AAA Diamond Program to help travelers better understand the overall quality, range of facilities and level of services offered by a property,” said Stacey Barber, executive director, AAA travel information and content. “Unlike ratings from unknown users sharing their opinions, the Diamond designations are provided by experienced professionals using consistent guidelines to tell travelers what a property offers.”

Under the new system, previously one- and two-diamond hotels and restaurants will transition to the approved designation while three-, four- and five-diamond establishments will retain their designations. However, the 2020 inspection cycle will be the determining factor for all properties’ future designation.

The modernized AAA Diamond Program guidelines for hotels and restaurants reflect the latest in traveler expectations and industry trends. AAA has removed outdated criteria in favor of factors that more directly relate to guest comfort, design and layout. For example, AAA inspectors will now look for sufficient storage space and shelving for clothes and personal belongings in guest rooms, and not for ironing boards or printed guest information, to reflect modern guest expectations.

The AAA Diamond Program comprises nearly 60,000 properties in the U.S., Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean, including nearly 27,000 hotels and more than 30,000 restaurants. To be included in the AAA Diamond Program, properties must pass an unannounced, on-site evaluation. Hotels must provide acceptable cleanliness, comfort and hospitality, while restaurants must meet requirements for cleanliness, food preparation and service.

“Only the best hotels and restaurants are included in AAA’s Diamond Program – professional inspectors eliminate substandard places from consideration as a service to our members. For more than 80 years, travelers have relied on AAA’s trusted recommendations, and these latest changes only strengthen AAA as a go-to source for relevant information and advice for all trip planning needs,” Barber added.

While AAA recommends only good options for its members and travelers, additional Diamonds indicate more elaborate surroundings and attention from service staff. Here is a breakdown of what travelers can expect at each Diamond designation.

Travelers can learn more about the new AAA Diamond Program at AAA.com/Diamonds and search the AAA Travel Guides for their next great hotel or dining experience.

For hotels and restaurants looking for more information on the AAA Diamond Program and opportunities to market the designation to potential guests and customers, visit AAA.biz/Approved.

Travelers can find AAA Diamond hotels and restaurants and inspector insight in AAA’s trip planning products: AAA mobile app, AAA Travel Guides, TripTik Travel Planner and the AAA TourBook guides available to members at AAA offices. For more information, visit AAA.com/Diamonds.

As upstate New York’s largest member services organization, AAA Western and Central New York provides more than 887,000 members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1900, AAA has been a leading advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. Visit AAA at www.AAA.com.

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