AA and VisitEngland assessment scheme modernisation
We've streamlined our quality standards and introduced a brand new and inclusive scheme
Modernising and simplifying
We are changing the current classification schemes to a much simpler format and structure to ensure our quality assurance remains best in class. When consumers choose a trusted National Tourist Board or AA-rated establishment, they choose with confidence, knowing they will be making a memory that lasts forever.
There are now three primary levels of accreditation:
- – A brand new entry-level scheme called Visitor Ready
- – Quality Assessed
- – Quality Star Ratings from 3 to 5 Stars
Quality in context
Most importantly the quality schemes will be all about quality in context (the latter driven very much by the businesses core market needs). They will be about assessing what they offer to guests, not what they don’t. Physical quality and quality of the guest experience will be of equal importance and relevance.
This new digital scheme is free and will be open to all types of hospitality and tourism businesses across the three key consumer activities of eat, stay and visit.
It enables businesses in the UK hospitality, leisure, and tourism sectors to seamlessly showcase their commitment to operating safely within current industry standards and legislation. It has been created to make compliance accessible for all. The baseline accreditation will help businesses know the key safety and cleanliness requirements that today’s visitor expects.
Businesses can check eligibility at VisitorReady.com, upload evidence, confirm key requirements and finish the application in just 20 minutes.
Approved businesses will benefit from:
– a secure wallet for key documents,
– automatic reminders when documents need to be renewed, and
– a digital badge for their marketing channels.
This level of accreditation will promote businesses where they have been fully inspected and assessed against the quality standards but prefer to be marketed without a star rating.
Having undergone a full assessment each year they would be eligible, and may achieve, various awards such as the AA Rosette awards or the VisitEngland ROSE Awards.
Quality Star Rated
Reflecting the market place and consumer demand, we have recalibrated the star ratings to 3 to 5 Stars. Star ratings, while already well established will also replace the AA pennant ratings for camping.
3 Star requirements will become the new minimum requirements for each scheme. The standards themselves have been fully updated to reflect the market place, the ever increasing diversity of product in the industry and a greater flexibility in service provision that acknowledges the growing use of technology and other innovations in the guest experience.
Backed by the hospitality industry
Developed over 18 months and supported by research, it was found that the current rating systems and schemes are confusing, yet there is still customer value in the concept of ratings. A Quality Advisory Board was convened and, led by Peter Hancock as Chair, included VisitEngland, the AA, Bed and Breakfast Association, PASC UK, Edwardian Hotels London, PPHE Hotel Group, National Trust, Sykes Cottages, Coquet Cottages, Stay In a Pub, Premier Cottages and Glamping Association.
This resulted in the simplification to three easy to understand categories described above with the aim to provide enhanced clarity and understanding for businesses and consumers alike, fostering a more informed decision-making process.
"When VisitEngland and the AA asked me to chair their new Quality Advisory Board in 2023, I was handed two huge advantages; a very clear brief and a board made up of leading experts from each accommodation sector. The process has encouraged the board to consider what is important to today’s guests when staying at hotels, B&Bs, self-catering properties and everything in between - a simple and straightforward promise of quality. We reached unanimous conclusions, which we all believe will help our customers understand exactly what standards to expect when they book.”
Peter Hancock, Chair of the Quality Advisory Board