Do you follow the stars?

Reachforstars Copyright: sliper84

Holiday accommodation ratings systems have been around for a long time, but are they still fit for purpose in the digital age?

Addressing accreditation in a modern manner 

We have all stayed in (or avoided) the type of establishment that has a prized 4 rosette rating, it may be furnished from the 1940s and will invariably be run by a certain type of middle aged lady with gravity-defying hair and an aura of talcum powder. They will be the type of host that will check your comings and goings and lock the door promptly at 10pm and insist that you present yourself for breakfast between 08.30 and 08.45am, but no matter, they have invested in a trouser press in every room to gain their precious rosettes.

These days guests prefer greater freedom, but your holiday accommodation is only as good as your review score. Be it trip advisor, booking.com or Airbnb, our livelihood lives or dies by feedback. But review scores do not tell the whole truth. Is your holiday place properly insured, your host covered for professional indemnity and what would actually happen if the place disappeared from the system before your booking was fulfilled? I know for a fact that legalities are not checked beyond self-declaration on the booking sites. This space in the market has recently been addressed by a terrific outfit: www.qualityintourism.com/quality-assessment/safe-clean-and-legal

'Quality in Tourism' maintain the 'secret shopper' model to check out your operation and all legalities must be in place to get your accreditation. The focus is not on whether your cups match your saucers but, exactly as it states, that your property is safe, clean and legal, their approach is gathering support from local authorities as well as operators. With the diverse nature of today's destinations, cabins, shepherds huts, street properties as well as traditional seafront places a fresh approach to accreditation is very welcome. I urge you to take a look for their logo when booking a break.

As a landlord as well as a holiday let operator I have always been an early adopter of accreditation opportunities. Serving guests has done a great deal of good for my landlord operations as well. I am used to dropping everything to serve a customer, sort a repair on the same day and answer the phone with 'how can I help you?' The response from residential tenants to a more customer-focussed approach is greater loyalty, fewer arrears and a reciprocally helpful attitude. I was quick to take up the Portsmouth Landlord Accreditation available some years back (although I believe that Mr. Mark Smith was landlord #1) and my certificates only recently met their end as well and truly out of date. Of course, membership of the PDPLA lends credibility to your business but is that enough? Do you actually review your legalities regularly or only on tenant changeovers?, could you, in fact, fix those small repairs once instead of a temporary repair that ends up costing more in the long run? Do you have systems or people in place to cover emergencies, holidays and unforeseen circumstances? Please help me out and share any ideas that you may have that would make a local landlord accreditation meaningful to you or your tenants, all bright ideas to this email please! This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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