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AA and VisitEngland announce modernisation of assessment schemes

The AA and VisitEngland have teamed up to modernise their assessment schemes and launch a new, free Visitor Ready scheme for the wider hospitality industry

8 February 2024. The AA, the UK’s leading hospitality assessment scheme provider, alongside VisitEngland, the national tourism agency, have today announced plans to futureproof the hospitality industry with a modernisation plan which simplifies the current quality standards and introduces the new and free Visitor Ready scheme.

As leaders in accreditation, inclusivity is key for us. The Visitor Ready scheme represents a shift in how we approach accreditation. It’s free to industry and extends the scheme's reach across the UK’s hospitality, leisure, and tourism sectors. This, together with an increased flexibility in the quality assessment schemes, is just the start of our pledge to modernise the way we work.  

Simon Numphud FIH, Managing Director at AA Media

The Visitor Ready scheme 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 helps business to 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 benefit from a secure wallet for key documents, automatic reminders when documents need to be renewed, and a digital badge for their marketing channels. Earning the Visitor Ready badge represents a commitment to compliance with core standards, to assure customers they have the necessary checks in place. It means consumers can now visit with confidence.  

The wider modernisation initiative, spanning 18 months and supported by a Quality Advisory Board of prominent industry experts, revealed the existing accreditation systems can pose confusion for consumers, but there remains a strong interest in the idea of ratings.  

In response, the AA and VisitEngland streamlined their quality standards into three distinct categories: Visitor Ready, Quality Assessed, and Quality Star Rated (3 to 5 stars). This simplification aims to provide enhanced clarity and understanding for businesses when deciding to be assessed, and for consumers to make an informed decision when choosing their next place to stay.  Read more detail >>

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 Independent Chair of the Quality Advisory Board

This modernisation puts the consumer at the centre of the schemes and follows extensive research and consultation with the industry. And the result ensures tourism businesses are supported now and in the future as they grow and boost local economies.

Andrew Stokes, VisitEngland Director

The AA and VisitEngland invite all enterprises in the hospitality, leisure, and tourism sectors to join this journey towards excellence into 2024 and beyond.  

To learn how your business can futureproof through the Visitor Ready Scheme, sign up at www.visitorready.com.  

Find out more about the revision of the assessment schemes at www.ratedtrips.com/modernisation 

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For further press information or hi-res images, please contact Megan Webber from the AA PR team via  email [email protected] or call +44 7919 403 648    

 

NOTES TO EDITORS

AA Media connects the UK with travel ideas and rated hospitality businesses. It includes AA Hotel & Hospitality Services, which rates and publishes information about the hospitality industry, including hotels, B&Bs, campsites and restaurants. They introduced the renowned star rating scheme for quality in 1908 and have inspected restaurants for the Rosette award since 1956.  

The AA, alongside VisitEngland have undertaken a review of their current schemes in 2024, with a view to simplify and modernise its overall structure. Developed over two years and supported by research, it found the current rating systems and schemes are confusing, yet there is still customer value in the concept of ratings. This resulted in the simplification to three easy to understand categories: Visitor Ready, Quality Assessed, and Quality Star Rated (3 to 5 stars). This aims to provide enhanced clarity and understanding for businesses and consumers alike, fostering a more informed decision-making process. The Quality Advisory board was led by Peter Hancock as Chair and the board 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.  

All AA and VisitEngland-rated places to stay are featured on RatedTrips.com  
   

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