Are Diamonds an Innkeeper’s Best Friend? The Pros and Cons of Hotel Collection Associations

Hotel Collection Diamond CollectionThere comes a time in most innkeepers’ lives where they begin to wonder, “Should we put a Diamond on it?” The decision to jump through the hoops of hotel collections, such as Select Registry and The Diamond Collection, can be a tricky one to make for the first-time innkeeper. To help you determine whether it’s the right choice for you and your property, we’re highlighting a few upsides and downsides to hotel collection associations.

The Benefits of Hotel Collection Associations: You Can Trust Us

Many of us have experienced amateur hour as travelers. We booked a room that appeared beautiful online, but, upon arrival, found that a second bed could be created out of the dust bunnies. Someone had clearly gotten into an argument with the plaster wall, and let’s not even go into detail about the bathroom. Hospitality surprises like these are enough to leave the most tried-and-true travelers burnt, and that’s where hotel collection associations can comfort weary guests.

Though the criteria for Select Registry and The Diamond Collection differ, both share the same “you can trust us” message of assurance. Travelers on either website can see in a glance that your hotel has been professionally inspected and will meet their expectations. That’s why, when David Hiler set out to purchase a run-down property in danger of losing its Select Registry status, he made it a priority to stay in the registry’s good graces. “There are a huge number of properties out there and not all of them are great,” he points out, “Select Registry offers a set of standards that a traveler can look at and say, ‘I know this is going to be the experience I’m looking for.’”

There’s a Downhill to Every Uphill

Being included in an exclusive club of inns and hotels is an attractive accomplishment for any innkeeper, but the path to that pedestal can still be lined with a pothole or two.

Time is money and money is time — and it can take a lot of both before you become Select Registry or Diamond Collection certified. The process can be an expensive one, especially if an on-site inspection of the property is necessary. You may also have to prepare to play a waiting game. Judy Hueber of The Chesterfield Inn, for instance, had to wait until her three-year mark as an innkeeper before her property could be considered for a Select Registry status. This standard highlights a property’s dedication to commitment and quality but can be a letdown for eager innkeepers ready to make the move early.

Being patient and financially prepared doesn’t guarantee you’ll sail your way to certification, of course. Meeting the criteria for hotel collection associations can be difficult to pass on the first try. As a former Diamond Collection inspector, David recounts times where he’s had to send innkeepers back to the drawing board for reasons like lack of phone service or in-room bathrooms. If you decide to go through the process, maintaining a realistic outlook is key to preventing discouragement over invested time and effort.

Final Thoughts: To Join or Not to Join?

During a recent trip to the Vermont Inn and Bed & Breakfast Association meeting, Inside Innkeeping podcast host Megan Smith noticed a commonality among the attending innkeepers: they were all Select Registry and Diamond Collection certified. “It seems like the innkeepers with longevity, who run a class-act property, tend to belong and benefit from both programs,” she observes. Both David and Judy concur. “If nothing else, you should shoot for The Diamond Collection,” David advises, “because it’s a large marketing engine and the criteria may be a little less stringent. If you can get to the Select Registry level, I think that’s something everyone should be shooting for.”
Are you considering becoming Select Registry or Diamond Collection certified? Follow along with our latest episodes of Inside Innkeeping to garner more advice about hotel collections and making your next move as an innkeeper.

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