Benefits of joining VisitEngland´s scheme

Message regarding website listings

February 2012

Dear Colleague

You will probably be aware that VisitEngland has been reviewing its role in the area of grading, rating and quality assessment.

Feedback from businesses and guidance from government has underlined that VisitEngland’s most important role is in championing the overall quality of the country’s product and service delivery and, more specifically, to be the guardian of industry standards.

We are therefore changing  the emphasis of our involvement in quality to concentrate on these issues and on support and advice for businesses.

We have reappointed Quality in Tourism (a division of G4S Assessment Services) to deliver a full assessment service on VisitEngland’s behalf over the next three years. At the same time, we have been working with our “common standards” partners (the AA, VisitScotland, VisitWales and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board) on modernising the hotels, guest accommodation and self-catering standards and with our industry association partners on updating the holiday parks standard.

We have asked Quality in Tourism to offer, where appropriate, additional business support and advice as well as the traditional advice and feedback on quality improvements, star ratings and gradings.

We have also revised the benefits which participants in the quality scheme enjoy, making these much more business-oriented, rather than marketing/listing benefits which are often better delivered at a destination or local level or by the private sector.

VisitEngland will no longer be managing data or the national product database which currently powers the listings for individual businesses and searching capabilities on the VisitEngland and VisitBritain websites.  With the development of online resources in recent years these are facilities which we believe are no longer best delivered by a national tourism body. We have therefore withdrawn the benefit which offered your business a free listing on the ( and ( websites with effect from April 1, 2012. Instead, VisitEngland  will be concentrating its  resources on ensuring that the national website carries more engaging imagery and inspiring ideas to encourage and direct web traffic to the destination or local partner website for more detailed information on the local area. Although the VisitEngland listing will no longer be available, Quality in Tourism will be launching a new website for the 2012/13 participation year which will include an option for visitors to check which businesses are star-rated by VisitEngland which will be linked to from the VisitEngland site.

Quality In Tourism will be contacting you very soon with details of the 2012 fees and renewal process as well as a full list of benefits amongst which feature:

• Unlimited use of VisitEngland’s internationally recognised marque and star rating in all your promotional material, providing potential visitors the assurance that your accommodation has been independently assessed. The star ratings are promoted by many commercial websites.

• Annual Assessment by one of VisitEngland’s professional assessors. The assessor will award your star rating and give advice on how to maintain and improve your rating as well as maximise the potential of your business

• Written Report after each assessment, outlining strengths and areas for improvement, with individual scores for each area of the business assessed.

• Free subscription to VisitEngland’s Quality Edge magazine – twice yearly publication, packed with marketing hints and tips and case studies from operators from all sectors

• New for 2012-Free copy of VisitEngland’s updated guide to legislation (2012 Pink Book) as well as access to the widely respected online resource, which provides straightforward information and advice to help you unravel the legislation and regulations that affect your business.

• New for 2012 – Designated Members’ Area within (, offering access to networking & forums, advice & information, benchmarking standards and data.

• New for 2012 – Preferential rates on card processing with Barclaycard for VisitEngland quality scheme participants.

VisitEngland continues to be the largest provider of quality assessment in England, awarding ratings to more than 23,000 accommodation businesses in 2011 and we look forward to your continued support and to working with you in the year ahead.

Jeremy Brinkworth
Director of Business Development