Setting up and growing a successful visitor accommodation business such as a B&B, hotel, guest house or self-catering house, cottage or flat, camping and caravan sites can be daunting.
There are considerations, including planning permission and fulfilling all legal requirements, to address alongside smaller but no less important challenges such as making your business stand out from the competition.
The Thanet Tourism Team and Thanet District Council work with Visit Kent and national organisations, such as Visit England, to ensure everyone setting up an accommodation business has access to the most useful and up-to-date information and advice.
Follow the links below to find out the essentials about setting up a business, building your business, the low-down on how to meet and exceed your guests’ expectations, quality grading schemes, sustainability and accessibility, and how to meet the growing demand of visitors keen to enjoy local produce.
- Thanet District Council Support and Advice - offers information and contact points on key issues such planning permission, business rates, and health & safety
- Visit Kent Support and Advice - access to free business advice for star- ups and existing businesses looking to expand or diversify.
Visit Kent’s Tourism Business Advisory Service offers free on-site visits from an industry specialist and help with meeting and managing guest expectations, quality standards, operational standards, signposting information re sustainability and accessibility, and marketing.
It is good to try and use this service early on in the development of the accommodation to get the best advice at the right time.
You can also find out how to be part of the VisitEngland-accredited Kent Accommodation Scheme, delight your guests with an official Kent Breakfast showcasing local produce, and case studies about how Visit Kent has helped other people set up successful visitor accommodation businesses.
- Kent Hotel Development Hotspots - brings together the latest detailed research and essential market potential information for potential hotel developments in Thanet
- The Pink Book - is a comprehensive guide from VisitEngland covering the legislation accommodation providers need to know and follow
Grading schemes and star ratings
VisitEngland’s assessment service Quality in Tourism and The AA offer inspections and gradings for hotels, B&Bs and guest house. Star-ratings are determined by the services and facilities provided for guests, the quality of the welcome, service and hospitality of the staff, the food and the cleanliness. Having an official star-rating system helps potential guests know what to expect before they arrive.
Look out too for Visit England’s Gold, Silver and Breakfast awards marking out exceptional quality within a property's star rating, or for outperforming a star rating
Find out more about making your accommodation accessible
Sustainability and going green
Find out more about making your accommodation more sustainable and green tourism