Owning a tourism business can be very enjoyable but there are many things to be considered before starting.
Our resources pack gives a guiding hand and includes much of the information you will need or points you in the right direction.
The Tourism Develpment & Marketing Officer is on hand to answer any further questions you might have and would be pleased to hear about your plans and ideas. Please get in touch if you are thinking about becoming a visitor accommodation provider and Good Luck!
Good Starting Point | Quality Assurance | Welcome Schemes | Planning & Building Control Regulations | Signage | Fire Risk Assessments | Environmental Health & Food Safety | Business Rates | Insurance | Visitors with Disabilities | VisitWorthing and Tourist Information Centres | Training & Development | Sussex Breakfast | Sustainable Tourism | Parking in Worthing | PRS for Music Licence | Glossary of Tourism Organisations
This information is produced for businesses in the Worthing Borough and Adur District.
There are many things to consider when running an accommodation establishment, from complying with the relevant legislation to ensuring that you know what your rights are when guests don’t pay or cancel their booking and what records you need to keep for overseas visitors.
If you have never operated such a business before we suggest that you subscribe to Accommodation Know-How. This provides detailed information on all practical and legislative concerns applicable to running an accommodation establishment. It is an invaluable online resource that is updated regularly. An annual subscription starts from £34.95. Establishments assessed by Visit England or Quality In Tourism will receive a subscription as part of their annual assessment fee.
Visit England publishes a business series with tailored advice on best practice and compliance for small enterprises. These four titles are How to Run a Quality Bed and Breakfast, How to Run Quality Self–Catering Accommodation, How to be a Web-Savvy Accommodation Business and How to Market your Business Effectively. Prices start at £9.99 (£7.99 to subscribers). To order Tel: 020 8955 7074. Some supplies are available at the VisitWorthing Information Centre.
VisitEngland has launched the latest version of The Pink Book - a comprehensive guide covering everything operators need to know about running an accommodation business. The guide has been completely updated for 2012 and contains practical information for tourist accommodation - from obtaining entertainment and alcohol licences to food hygiene, and health and safety.
Sponsored by UK self-catering holiday specialist cottages4you, The Pink Book is the seventh edition of the guide to be published, and is free to members of VisitEngland’s Quality Assessment scheme. It is designed to help accommodation providers navigate the often-complex rules and regulations surrounding their business – with a dedicated section on guest relations, from booking procedures to access requirements.
The Pink Book 2012 is available free of charge to all members of VisitEngland’s Accommodation Quality Assessment scheme. To request your free copy, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Non scheme members can purchase a copy for £9.99 plus p&p – please contact email@example.com.
Tourism South East also has a range of useful information online.
For further information Tel: 023 8061 2678.
Visit England is leading the national policy to ensure that high quality accommodation is available to visitors. Regional tourist boards and most local authorities in the UK operate an assessed only policy. This means they only promote establishments with a 1 – 5 star rating awarded by either Visit England, via Quality in Tourism, or the AA as part of the National Quality Assessment Scheme.
All accommodation promoted by the Worthing, Sussex Coast & Downs Visitor Guide and Website must carry a valid assessment awarded by Quality in Tourism or the AA.
The AA has launched its own Self Catering scheme which will operate throughout the UK which will include an individual report and classification for each property (if more than one unit exists). Details can be found at www.theaa.com Tel: 01256 844455. However this scheme is not currently recognised by VisitEngland as it does not reflect the minimum standards of the Quality in Tourism scheme.
Even if you decide to operate your business without a star rating we recommend that you request a copy of an assessment pack to gain an understanding of the standards and expectations of the industry. There is an annual fee for this service, which varies depending on accommodation type and room numbers. There is also a one-off registration fee.
For further information:
Quality In Tourism - Tel: 0845 300 6996 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The AA - Tel: 01256 84 44 55 Email: HotelServicesCustomerSupport@theAA.com
Consider applying for one of the Welcome Schemes administered by Visit England. These highlight any specialist services/ facilities your establishment may offer for certain markets. Current Welcome Schemes include Walkers Welcome, Cyclists Welcome, Welcome Pets! and Families Welcome.
We always advise that you contact your local Planning and Building Control Office before you start any work or open your business. This will ensure you have the necessary permissions and you are not breaching any conditions on your property. For planning, as a very general rule if the number of rooms to be let does not exceed 50% of the total rooms, planning permission is not usually required. Self catering conversions will always require planning permission. However, it is recommended that you check in every circumstance.
For Building Regulations, these will need to be considered when carrying out any alterations to your premises and will depend on the number of people that will be sleeping on site (including guests, staff and owners). If you are in a conservation area, are a listed building, carrying out any structural alterations, installing new bathrooms, fire detection systems, you will need to contact the Planning and Building Control Office. It is always best to double check before starting any work to avoid future problems.
The display of all outdoor signage is governed by the provisions of the Town and Country Planning (Control of Advertisements) Regulations 1992. These regulations concern lighting, height and fixing and can be very complicated.
We would therefore advise you to seek the advice of our Planning Office before commissioning signs for your premises to clarify what permissions you may require. If your property is a listed building, you may need consent for any sign to be put up on your building.
It's always best to double check before commissioning any signage to avoid future problems.
Brown & White Signage
Only certain businesses meet the criteria to qualify for brown and white signage on the roads. In the Worthing & Adur districts there are two agencies that deal with applications for brown and white signs.
These are the Highways Agency (motorways and other main roads) and West Sussex County Council (all other roads). All brown and white signs require an application to the appropriate authority and a fee will be charged – dependant on size, location etc.
Since October 2006, new Fire Safety Laws came into force making businesses directly responsible for the safety of all premises users. As a result, fire certificates have been abolished and new risk assessments have to be completed by a designated ‘responsible person’.
The new laws apply to all tourism businesses including self-catering and smaller establishments who were previously exempt from fire certificates. The law states that operators must take responsibility for fire safety themselves. All accommodation businesses will have to carry out a fire safety risk assessment. In smaller premises the operator can probably do their own assessment but in large, complex premises a trained professional is more likely to be needed. Preventative or protective measures required following the risk assessment must be installed and maintained.
Fire officers will carry out spot checks and whoever performed the risk assessment is liable for anything found to be incorrect or if anything goes wrong. Magistrates will be able to impose fines of £5,000 for each offence, while a Crown Court can impose unlimited fines and up to two years in jail. Quality in Tourism assessors can also ask to see your risk assessment as part of your assessment.
You may find the booklet 'Do you have paying guests?' useful. You can download or order a copy of the booklet for free here.
The local Environmental Health Department will be able to advise on all matters relating to Food Hygiene and Health & Safety and will be able to provide information on Food Hygiene courses and free leaflets available.
As the person with control over the premises, you have responsibility for the physical safety of every person who comes onto those premises. You will have a ‘duty of care’ to guests and must make sure that your premises are reasonably safe for the purpose for which guests are invited to use them.
You will also be responsible for the health and safety of your employees, whether you have one or one hundred. You must ensure that they are supplied with adequate equipment and working conditions.
Under Food Hygiene legislation, all serviced accommodation must register with the local Environmental Health and undergo a free inspection. You can also make contact with Environmental Health to benefit from their advice on all food safety related issues.
A domestic property may be used for Bed & Breakfast and generally won’t be subject to Business Rates if:
• the business operates less than 6 bed spaces
• the property remains the sole and main residence of the taxpayer
• the B&B business is subsidiary to private use
If your establishment has more than 6 bed spaces then you will be liable for business rates. Self catering units are not classed as domestic properties and are therefore liable for business rates.
You must ensure that you have adequate insurance cover. Most household policies will not cover the use of your premises for business purposes, your liability to employees and guests, or any damage caused by guests.
Some insurance companies offer special packages for accommodation providers including Public Liability Insurance, Employers Liability Insurance and Property and Contents Insurance.
To find out what cover you will need and costs, contact your insurance company.
The Equality Act 2010 applies to all businesses providing a service to the public regardless of size. The legislation ensures that all businesses provide reasonable access to visitors with disabilities - and it is important to think of disabilities in the widest context and not just around wheelchair access.
Visit Britain has a free publication Easy Does It. This has helpful tips and simple, low cost changes that could benefit your business and your visitors.
One Step Ahead is a new, free publication produced by Quality in Tourism to help you accommodate older and less mobile guests.
Tourism South East and Visit England offers a lot of useful information relating to accessibility including an Online Access Statement Tool so you can see how your establishment fairs.
There is currently a shortage of fully accessible accommodation within the Worthing and Adur districts and consideration given to setting up suitable facilities could offer you a key business opportunity. You may also wish to consider obtaining accreditation for your facilities as part of the National Accessible Scheme.
More information about the Equlaity Act can be found on the Directgov website.
The Tourism Department of Adur & Worthing Councils promotes the whole area as a visitor destination under the VisitWorthing brand. Opportunities are available for quality assessed (star rated) businesses to advertise on an annual basis.
The Worthing, the Sussex Coast & the South Downs Visitor Guide is produced annually and is supported by the VisitWorthing website. Approximately 36,000 Visitor Guides are distributed to local and national Tourist Information Centres and as part of a national marketing campaign to attract visitors to the area.
The VisitWorthing website offers all advertisers a detailed listing with links to their own website. It also offers the opportunity for businesses to maximise their booking potential by updating room/ unit availability. If you have missed the opportunity to advertise in the current visitor Guide, you can take an interim website advert which would enable you to receive the benefits of working with VisitWorthing.
Benefits of advertising with VisitWorthing include:
• Advertisement in 25,000 Visitor Guides promoting the area as a visitor destination
• Listing on the VisitWorthing website (currently getting around 140,000 hits each year) including the option to show accommodation availability
• Participation in the National Book A Bed Ahead Scheme with Tourist Information Centres across the country. Subject to a 10% booking fee of the first night stay booked
• Opportunities to promote Special Offers and Discounts
• Inclusion in the destinations marketing campaigns and promotional activity throughout the year
We cannot guarantee that our VisitWorthing activities & VisitWorthing Information Centre will be your main source of business although we will endeavour to provide the best possible service. We recommend you use additional sources for bookings to ensure an even spread of business throughout the year (e.g. local community networks - shops, churches, other tourism organisations and publications and e-commerce activities.) If you do not wish to operate with a National Quality Assessment Scheme rating then we regret that we are unable to feature your establishment in any of the Worthing & Adur district tourism promotional activities.
For further information about advertising with VisitWorthing contact the Tourism Team or Tel: 01273 263022.
Business Link is an online resource for businesses offering free advice and information on many issues that will help your business to grow.
Tourism South East: Tourism Training offers a range of training opportunities throughout the year on everything from customer service to social media.
An accredited Sussex Breakfast is made from at least 60% of local, seasonal ingredients – and must include free range eggs and sausages or bacon from free range or low intensive barn reared pork. These must be sourced direct from an approved producer or farm shop that are supplied by local farmers and craft processors.
Businesses that can demonstrate a commitment to sourcing local produce against a monitored criteria are eligible to display the Sussex Breakfast marque in their advertising activities.
For details of Sussex food producers and suppliers visit the Sussex Food Finder.
Businesses that can demonstrate a commitment to green and sustainable practices might be interested in subscribing to the Green Tourism Business Scheme to achieve a bronze, silver or gold accreditation.
Sustainable Tourism for Dummies is a new book in the Dummies series of easy to use guidance by Wiley publishers designed to help tourism businesses of all sizes to be more sustainable.
Worthing town centre operates a controlled parking scheme which is separated into zones.
Hotels and guesthouses within the controlled parking zone are able to purchase stocks of visitor permits which can be used by their guests.
For further information about Hotel & Guesthouse permits contact The Parking Shop, 52 Chapel Road, Worthing, West Sussex, BN11 1BE. Tel 0845 680 0189
Opening hours: Monday – Thursday: 8am – 5pm. Friday: 8am – 4pm. Saturday: 9am – 1pm
Hotels and Guesthouses that play the radio, pre recorded CDs or other music for ambience may need to consider purchasing a PRS for Music licence which provides clearance for the use of copyright music.
Prices vary depending on the size of your venue and frequency of use. If you don't obtain the necessary clearances for your use of copyright music, you could face legal action for copyright infringement and may become liable to pay damages and costs.
Here are the details of just some of the tourism bodies in the UK:
Visit Britain is the national tourism agency, responsible for marketing Britain worldwide & developing Britain’s visitor economy.
Visit England is the country’s national tourist board. Its role is to grow the value of tourism by working in partnership with the industry to deliver inspirational marketing campaigns and to provide advocacy for the industry and our visitors.
Tourism South East is a not-for-profit organisation with a mission to provide services and expertise that supports the performance and growth of tourism businesses.
Worthing Borough Council and Adur District Council
As the local authority we work with local businesses to promote the Worthing & Adur district as a visitor destination. We have responsibility for legislative regulation such as planning and environmental heath. We also fund and manage the VisitWorthing Information Centre.
Tourist Information Centres
Worthings Tourist Information Centre is funded and managed by the local authority. Tourist Information Centres are part of a national network that offer marketing and booking channels for attractions and accommodation and promote the local area to visitors. The VisitWorthing Information Centre is in the Dome Cinema complex on Marine Parade.