Certifying your quality
We manage a number of accommodation quality schemes designed to help you reach your full potential. VisitEngland's National Quality Assessment Scheme is the largest official star rating scheme in the UK, with over 24,000 participating businesses. We also work with self-catering agencies and destination organisations to raise standards.
By providing clear objectives to complete, as well as a method of benchmarking against your competitors, our schemes can help you to develop your business. Plus displaying your official star rating logo has real promotional benefits.
Our star ratings
Star ratings are awarded based on the quality of your facilities, services and hospitality. One of our highly trained and professional quality assessors will visit you, working with you to maximise the potential of your business. You’ll receive an annual assessment and a comprehensive written report of the assessor’s experience, providing you with valuable feedback on what you could do to improve your rating. This could include marketing advice, help with legislation and ideas for suppliers.
You might also qualify to enter our Gold, Silver and Breakfast Awards. These awards complement star ratings by recognising businesses that exceed guest expectations and enable you to use our official quality marque in all your promotional material.
Although we don’t provide listings for individual businesses in the scheme, your Destination Organisation (DO) (PDF, 234KB) may be able to help promote your business both online and in print.
Applying for a star rating
The scheme is delivered by Quality in Tourism on our behalf. To find out more information on the schemes, including criteria, fees and how to apply, visit the Quality in Tourism website.
Our moderation team monitors the quality, consistency and accuracy of Quality in Tourism’s assessment visits and written reports, to ensure you receive the highest level of service.
The process involves randomly selecting and evaluating a number of assessment reports each month. A sample of these are then selected for ‘cover’ visits, so moderators can confirm the accuracy of the assessor’s scoring and grading.
These visits are an opportunity for you to ask questions and raise any issues you may have with the scheme criteria, all of which is fed back directly to the Enterprise team here.
There are a number of large self-catering agencies that can award our star ratings under a franchise agreement. Agencies employ their own assessors, who we train and moderate.
The following agencies have current franchise agreements:
- Hoseasons: www.cottages4you.co.uk; www.english-country-cottages.co.uk; www.welcomecottages.com
- The Original Cottage Company: www.norfolkcottages.co.uk; www.suffolk-secrets.co.uk; www.kentandsussexcottages.co.uk; www.marsdens.co.uk; www.northdevonholidays.co.uk; www.yorkshireholidaycottages.co.uk; www.cornishhorizons.co.uk; www.dorsetcottages.com
- Dorset Holiday Cottages: www.dorsetcoastalcottages.com
- Coast and Country Cottages: www.coastandcountry.co.uk
If you are a self-catering agency and would like more information on the franchise scheme, please email us.
Quality accredited agency scheme
If you are a self-catering agency and want to demonstrate to your customers that you are a quality agency with excellent customer care, consider joining our Quality Accredited Agency (QAA) Scheme. The scheme is open to all self-catering agencies in England, regardless of whether your letting portfolio is quality assessed under the star rating scheme or not.
Quality Accredited Boatyard Standard and Boat Grading Scheme
We have developed a two assessment strategy with British Marine, which includes the British Marine Hire Boat Handover Audit and an updated and refreshed VisitEngland star rating scheme. Under a franchise agreement British Marine can award VisitEngland accreditations to boatyards and hire boat operators and VisitEngland star ratings to narrowboats and cruisers that are hired out. British Marine employ their own assessors, who we train and moderate. The VisitEngland narrowboat and cruiser scheme was previously delivered by Quality in Tourism. The VisitEngland hotel boat star rating scheme still continues to be delivered by Quality in Tourism on our behalf.
The two tier scheme works as follows:
- Quality Accredited Boatyard (QAB) scheme: This first part of the scheme looks at the systems and procedures that operators carry out in running a hire boat or fleet of boats. It encompasses the requirements of the British Marine Hire Boat Handover Audit. The QAB assessments are carried out every three years.
In order to participate in VisitEngland’s Boat Star Rating scheme, all boatyards/hire boat operators must hold a current QAB certificate. QAB does not carry a star rating, but is an accreditation that offers reassurances of safe and legal practices together with good customer service.
- Boat Star Rating scheme: The optional second part of the assessment process is the assessment of individual boats. This is a star rating, one to five. The star rating has minimal criteria requirements and is largely based on the quality and condition of the individual boat and also the comfort and ease of use for the maximum number of occupants. A boatyard/hire boat operator with a QAB accreditation may choose to have all, some or none of the fleet star rated.
If you are a boatyard or narrowboat/cruiser operator and would like more information and to join, please visit British Marine Quality Accredited Boatyard and Boat Grading Scheme.
Welcome Afloat training course
The Welcome Afloat one-day training course, developed by Welcome to Excellence Ltd and a working group led by British Marine, and supported by the Broads Authority, Canal and River Trust, and VisitEngland, gives participants today's core customer service skills - reflecting the latest techniques and best practice. It is a highly flexible course and can be tailored to include content and knowledge specific to destinations and businesses. If you work in the Marine Tourism Sector in a customer facing role, this course is for you.
More details from British Marine Training Courses.