The COVID-19 pandemic hit everyone hard, but the hospitality sector, in particular, suffered immensely because of travel and lockdown restrictions. Many hospitality establishments, sadly, had to reduce staff numbers and, worse, faced the prospects of closure.

But there is light at the end of the tunnel. Local travel restrictions have been eased greatly, and many in the hospitality industry are reporting good returns as people return to travelling. Of course, the numbers are not where they were pre-COVID, but the movements are in the right direction, which is encouraging.

In these difficult times, many guesthouses are looking for ways to increase their numbers, and are trying all they can to promote their establishments and the services they offer. A good starting point is to ensure your establishment gets seen – that it is on the radar of prospective travellers and clients.

For this reason, it’s perhaps a good idea to invest in becoming part of the AA’s Quality Assured Accommodation (AAQA) programme. AAQA ensure local establishments are listed on the AAQA website. It’s a first move that places an establishment on a platform other than its own, and gives it a space to compete directly with other establishments. AAQA establishments are all vetted and pre-inspected before they are listed to ensure the best guest experiences.

From a business perspective, being connected with a trusted and reputable brand such as the AA lends more credibility to an establishment. Not only does it get to display the connection with the AA, it also gets the kudos of being associated with a valuable, respected organisation.

For AA Members and non-Members, this gives them peace-of-mind knowing that they can confidently book with an establishment which has been screened and rated according to the AA’s rating scale. It gives establishments a platform to advertise themselves, and be part of a decision-making mix for travellers.

The AAQA rates establishments according to three levels: Superior, Highly Recommended, and Recommended.

Superior ratings are awarded to establishments that excel in every aspect of what they offer. These establishments offer a pristine property with décor and furnishing of exceptional quality. These establishments also offer remarkable levels of professionalism and hospitality.

Highly recommended ratings are awarded to establishments that are rated as exceptional. These establishments exude quality, and pay attention to detail. They also have high levels of professionalism and service.

Recommended ratings are awarded to establishments who meet the AA’s stringent qualifying criteria, are well managed and comfortable.

With each inspection conducted by the AAQA team, various aspects of the quality and service levels are appraised. These include looking at key areas of the establishment such as:

  • Cleanliness
  • Hospitality & Service
  • Food quality
  • Facilities
  • Guest comfort
  • Public areas (internal & external)
  • Buildings, grounds & garden


Because the AA is a trusted and valued brand which has been operating in South Africa for more than 90 years, travellers can trust the ratings provided by AAQA.

For more information on joining the AAQA Programme or finding an AAQA Establishment please visit the AAQA website.