UK: Quality in Tourism’s (QT) Safe, Clean & Legal accreditation has seen renewed interested in response to the coronavirus pandemic, with 700 additional enquiries being processed.
In a survey commissioned by QT, 80 per cent said that it was “highly important” or “important” that any prospective property they visit in the future had a recognised accreditation for its cleaning.
64 per cent will expect these cleaning standards to have undergone independent spot checks, and 73 per cent will be reassured that the property is cleaned to the highest level if has an independent accreditation.
Best Western Great Britain, the Hotel Booking Agents Association (HBAA), SilverDoor, and the Short Term Accommodation Association (STAA) are some of the industry leaders adopting and endorsing QT’s accreditation scheme.
Current figures include:
- 500 independent hotels and accommodation providers across the UK, including the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.
- STAA, the Short Term Accommodation Association have been recommending Safe, Clean & Legal to their member agencies since March 2019.
- SilverDoor apartments have 1400 property listings. The partnership was agreed in February 2020 with properties encouraged to sign up.
- Best Western Great Britain signed 297 Hotels in May 2020 in response to Coronavirus.
- HBAA, the Hotel Booking Agents Association signed a partnership deal in May 2020 where they recommended the accreditation to their agents, hotels and venues.
Deborah Heather, director at Quality in Tourism, said: “Our robust Safe, Clean and Legal accreditation scheme has been in operation since 2018 and is a proven tool that protects both guests and providers whilst driving accommodation standards. We have updated the scheme and introduced additional cleaning protocols surrounding Coronavirus to support the industry to re-open. Our accreditation scheme inspects accommodation providers against best practise guidelines and audits their application of new protocols, before being visited by a Quality in Tourism assessor and, if successful, awarding them with the marque that will reassure guests.
“The application of industry regulations remains inconsistent which is why we launched the accreditation scheme in 2018, but it has gained additional relevance following the Coronavirus outbreak. It is the only accreditation which includes a physical inspection and which does not award a marquee on the basis of self-certification by the accommodation provider,” she added.
Eighteen97, a five-star boutique property in North Yorkshire, has a five-star gold rating with Quality in Tourism. Its owner Fiona Gardham said: “We moved to Quality in Tourism last year as we liked their modern approach to accreditation and felt it important that our guests can be reassured of their safety when staying in our property. Visitors so often assume the basics of insurance and cleanliness and it isn’t always the case. I am so pleased that the scheme has been updated to reflect the current pandemic and we can continue to reassure our visitors that we are safe to visit, as and when the time is right.”
Rob Patterson, chief executive at Best Western Great Britain said: “We believe we have taken the ultimate step for the safety of our staff and guests. The new kitemark provides reassurance to the public that we have the highest standards of safety in our hotels and the gold standard for anti-Covid cleanliness in the whole of hospitality, because it is independently audited and signed off. Not marked by Best Western. That independence process was important to us.”
John Angus, managing director of Park Regis Birmingham, said: “We were delighted to hear that Quality in Tourism is working in partnership with the HBAA and introducing accreditation that encompasses the Covid-19 measures. Our hotel wants to be recognised as a trail blazer in such an initiative and to demonstrate to our teams, agencies and to end customers that they can book, stay and host events in our Covid-ready hotel.”
Quality in Tourism carries out assessments of hotels, guest houses, B&B’s, self-catering accommodation as well as home stays and apartments across the UK.