Want to run a B&B?
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 | Adur & Worthing Approved Accommodation Scheme | 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 have a look at 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 and is free.
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.
An alternative to this is the local Adur & Worthing Accommodation Assessment Scheme. This is an entry level scheme available to all accommodation providers in the district. It checks that a property is Safe, Clean and Legal. Please ask for more information.
All accommodation promoted by the Worthing, Sussex Coast & Downs Visitor Guide and VisitWorthing Website must carry a valid assessment awarded by Quality in Tourism or the AA.
The AA has its own Self Catering scheme that operates throughout the UK which includes an individual report and classification for each property (if more than one unit exists). Details can be found at their website or 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.
Adur & Worthing Approved Accommodation Scheme
This is a local entry-level scheme which has been introduced, in conjunction with Quality in Tourism, as an alternative for those businesses who may, for whatever reason, not want to participate in the star rating scheme but none the less want to offer visitors reassurance that thier accommodation meets all legal requirements and offers an acceptable level of cleanliness and comfort.
With fees starting at just £80, this is a cost-effective assessment to confirm that your operation is 'legal, safe and clean'.
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.
Planning & Building Control Regulations
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 the Council's 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; 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.
Fire Risk Assessments
New Fire Safety Laws came into force in October 2006 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.
The Fire and Rescue Service 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.
Environmental Health & Food Safety
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.
• 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.
For more information go to the Adur & Worthing Council Website.
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.
Visitors with Disabilities
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 free publication produced by VisitEngland to help you accommodate older and less mobile guests.
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.
VisitWorthing & Tourist Information Centres
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 (inspected/star rated) businesses to advertise on an annual basis.
The Worthing, the Sussex Coast & the South Downs Visitor Guide is produced annually. Approximately 25,000 Visitor Guides are distributed to local and national Tourist Information Centres and advertised as part of a national marketing campaign to attract visitors to the area.
The VisitWorthing website is the offocial tourism website for the Adur & Worthing District. It receives in excess of 250,000 unique hits a year. It offers advertisers a detailed listing with all sorts of information about their business including images and web links. It 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 250,000 unique 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, consumer e-newsletters and promotional activity throughout the year
VisitWorthing marketing activity & VisitWorthing Information Centre won't be your complete source of business but we do work hard to maximise every opportunity and provide the very best service.
For further information about advertising with VisitWorthing contact the Tourism Team or Tel: 01273 263022.
Training & Development
Gov.uk has an online resource for businesses offering free advice and information on many issues that will help you start and grow your business.
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.
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.
For more Information:
VisitEngland - Sustainable Tourism
Parking in Worthing town centre
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 – Friday: 8am – 5pm. Saturday: 8am – 4pm.
PRS for Music
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.
Visit England (consumer) Visit England (industry) 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 domestic 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 in the south east. VisitSouthEast England is their consumer website.
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. The Council has responsibility for legislative regulation such as planning and environmental heath.
Worthings Visitor 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.