HBAA spearheads industry hygiene and cleanliness accreditation standard to champion accommodation providers and venues to boost customer confidence amid Covid-19 challenges and beyond
As a major initiative to kick start the Events, Meetings and Accommodation industry in post pandemic recovery, HBAA is collaborating with Quality in Tourism to promote its ‘Safe, Clean and Legal’ Accreditation as a recognised industry standard of hygiene and cleanliness for venues and hotels, including Covid-19 protocols. This will drive customer confidence among delegates, guests, agencies, staff and employers.
This regulated accreditation is awarded to hotels and venues that meet or exceed minimum set standards across a wide range of factors, including compliance with hygiene and food safety regulations which has become paramount following the Covid-19 outbreak. All properties submit their standards and are then audited to ensure that they maintain the rigorous levels of cleanliness and safety, providing greater reassurance to customers.
Quality in Tourism (QT) has been assessing properties and driving standards across the UK for over 15 years and are experts in the field, offering advice, support and benchmarking assessments for tourism and hospitality businesses. It covers hotels, venues, apartments and other accommodation providers throughout the UK. This accreditation is recognised by the Environmental Health (EH).
Juliet Price, Consultant Executive Director of HBAA commented; “HBAA identified the urgent need to have such a uniformed and united standard across our sector. We are spearheading this standard enabling customers to feel assured that the accommodation and venues they’re using are compliant with the latest government guidance and agreed protocols. Working with such an accreditation from a recognised authority like QT drives confidence from its rigorous application and inspection process. It is an important initiative which we can all get behind.
“Whilst we continue to see more hotel chains and venues present their own cleaning standards, which we welcome, we do need to drive consistency on a level playing field.
“HBAA continues to collaborate with industry associations, shoulder to shoulder and is requesting that this accreditation is communicated amongst their membership and features prominently in RFPs and part of hotel and venue selection criteria.”
“This initiative is to create a unified approach that is recognised, certified and assured, regardless of which association they belong to, or who their customers are. We have actively engaged with many associations and requested that everyone gets behind this, for the good of our industry.”
“With our industry potentially being one of the last to recover, we need to ensure we are increasing customer confidence continuously in our approaches and practices.
The QT badge which seals the assurance of protocols being met, is aligned to the set standards and is required to be an ongoing maintenance process.”
Deborah Heather, Director, Quality in Tourism says: "I am delighted that HBAA has decided to endorse and champion our accreditation across the industry by recommending the Safe, Clean & Legal accreditation which Quality in Tourism designed back in 2018. The scheme has evolved to include Covid-19 cleaning protocols, with the support of our Primary Authority partner Cornwall Council. We have worked with Environmental Health to develop protocols and standards for hotels and venues to protect their teams and their guests."
Juliet Price added “This badge has to be clearly displayed across multiple distribution platforms, for accommodation providers and venues to proudly display their accreditation and for customers and agencies to search for them easily and/or book them. We are urging industry accessible tools and platforms to get behind and support this, clearly displaying this badge and to ensure it is part of search functionalities within.”
HBAA partner Venue Directory has committed to listing the accreditation within venuedirectory.com. Managing Director Michael Begley says “Accommodation and venue providers will be able to update their listing with their QT accreditation and this will be available to all 60,000 venues on their UK database. Clients using their Accommodation RFP tool will also be able to take advantage of the accreditation details via the ABC platform. This essential data will be available on all the booking platforms for meetings and events that venuedirectory.com supports and also via their venue data feed that is utilised to power third party booking platforms and venue sourcing websites.”
Edge Venues have also confirmed that they will display the accreditation within their platform which the industry will also welcome with open arms.
Advantage Travel Partnership fully supports the Quality in Tourism Safe, Clean & Legal™ accreditation process. The organisation which has over 350 UK business and leisure travel agency members also operates a global hotel programme comprising more than 35,000 hotels, an ATOL protected tour operation, and a meetings and events division.
Julia Lo Bue-Said, CEO at Advantage commented, “The UK hotel and venue market is particularly important to our members’ businesses and our global network of TMCs, with four UK cities featuring within our top five locations for hotels booked through our hotel programme. An accreditation process such as this is a welcome positive step in encouraging confidence back from both the corporate and leisure travel markets and will help boost the recovery of our industry.”
Hotels and venues have welcomed the initiative. Louisa Watson, Director of Marketing at Wyboston Lakes Resort, said: “Getting this accreditation is hugely important for Wyboston Lakes Resort. Ensuring our accommodation, meetings and events are safe and protecting our guests and team members is our first priority. We know things will be different going forward but they can still be good and this accreditation ensures that it will be safe too.”
John Angus, Managing Director of Park Regis Birmingham said “We were delighted to hear that Quality in Tourism is working in partnership with the HBAA and introducing Accreditation that encompasses the Covid-19 measures. Our hotel wants to be recognised as a trail blazer in such an initiative and to demonstrate to our teams, agencies and to end customers that they can book, stay and host events in our Covid Ready hotel”.
Details of how providers can apply for the accreditation can be found here.
Juliet Price concluded "This is vital for our members to demonstrate that are mindful of their duty of care. This initiative forms part of the #HBAAfuturefit and 6+-step recovery plan, which will soon be unveiled. HBAA is committed to supporting the reopening of our industry and to these steps to aid recovery and create customer confidence in our sector, whilst showcasing that when the UK Government allows us too; “our industry is absolutely open for business and safely. HBAA is championing for Department of Culture Media and Sport to also endorse and recognise this initiative via the BVEP”.
QT also provides two additional accreditations for our industry which includes REST (Responsible, Ethical, Sustainable Tourism) and WellBme (Wellbeing within our industry) – both of which can also be found on the factsheet. This initiative also supports HBAA 1:50 Mental Health First Aiders, Campaign.