Deborah Heather, Director of Quality in Tourism, discusses the importance of quality grading in an unregulated industry, with practical advice on how you can ensure your property is ‘safe, clean and legal’.

Credit: Quality in Tourism

Having spent most of my career working in and around the UK hospitality industry, I have seen the industry change and develop.  For many hospitality businesses, this change is hugely positive, signifying a period of opportunity, profile, growth and prosperity, while for others, the opposite is true, with complaints of a struggle to stand out, cut-throat competition and difficulty meeting ever-changing customer expectations

For me, Quality in Tourism represent the very best of the industry; the businesses that are passionate about the traditional hospitality values, but who are resilient and adaptable, making the most of the newly-styled, extroverted industry landscape.

Credit: Quality in Tourism

One of the questions we are regularly asked however is to justify the value of an independent assessment, when a provider is getting five star reviews on TripAdvisor and the like. How could the opinion of one assessor, have as much value as the opinions of hundreds of customers? The answer? They aren’t truly comparable and here’s why…

TripAdvisor, AirBnB and many Online Travel Agents (OTA) exist to connect potential guests with places to stay, at the same time providing a review and rating system to enable guests to leave feedback, share experiences and support other potential guests to make an informed decision. They do very well at it, and the User-Generated Content is a fabulous resource; there is absolutely no denying that.

Quality in Tourism on the other hand has three key objectives: first, to provide an impartial, objective assessment of the state of a business, second to ensure that every business is #SafeCleanLegal, protecting the consumer in an unregulated industry and third, to support business owners with valuable, business-specific advice and information to help them prosper.

Credit Quality in Tourism

Interestingly, Safety and Legality are often assumed by consumers as the bare minimum standard of any place that they plan to stay. Yet in reality, this may not be the case, particularly with the boom of the internet and the rise of second-room renters. Our inspectors are the enforcers of legal standards for the industry, ensuring that businesses have the correct documentation and checks in place, from fire safety to food safety, confirming that the accommodation meets or exceeds minimum standards. Our checks are robust and objective, rather than a personal opinion and we also provide an online validation service, where guests can double-check that the B&B they have chosen is rated. It is this impartiality that makes the scheme so strong.

Quality in Tourism has been assessing properties and driving standards across the UK for over 15 years and we are experts in the field, offering advice, support and assessments for tourism & hospitality businesses. Our approach of working alongside those in the industry has given us vast insight into what is required. The quality checks and mystery customer visits that we offer allows us to meet the demands of the more discerning visitor along with showcasing the very best that a property has to offer. 

We are working in partnership with Destination Bristol to support their members in gaining a Safe, Clean and Legal accreditation.  More information can be found at