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Tourism Accommodation Advice

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. 


The Thanet Tourism Team and Thanet District Council work with Visit Kent and national organisations, such as VisitEngland, to ensure everyone setting up an accommodation business has access to the most useful and up-to-date information and advice.

Thanet District Council is committed to working with existing and potential providers of all forms of visitor accommodation. Visitors need to be assured that the accommodation in which they stay is clean, safe and welcoming and complies with relevant legislation.

Thanet District Council has a policy of promoting quality accredited accommodation or accommodation which been signed-up to their new Accommodation Charter.  

Quality accredited accommodation includes accommodation which has been inspected and received a quality grading through the National Quality Assessment Scheme or the Kent Accommodation Scheme.  It also includes accommodation which has been inspected by an agency or organisation such as Alistair Sawdays, Michelin, Good Hotel Guide or Airbnb Plus and various self-catering agencies which have an inspection scheme and minimum standard.  See Grading Schemes and Start Ratings below for further information.

The Accommodation Charter is for properties that have not received a quality grading or are not part of an agency or organisation which carries out its own inspections.  Accommodation owners signing up to the Charter commit to meeting a certain level of standards.  Please click here to request further information.

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 as planning permission, business rates, and health & safety       
  • Visit Kent Support and Advice - access to free business advice for start- 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.
  • Quality in Tourism - Safe, Clean and Legal Scheme - This is suitable for entry level hospitality products, when quality (star) ratings may not be relevant or applicable.
  • 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 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 VisitEngland’s Gold, Silver and Breakfast awards, administered by AA Services, marking out exceptional quality within a property's star rating, or for outperforming a star rating.  

Quality in Tourism's Safe, Clean and Legal Scheme helps to reassure potential guests that the property they plan to stay in is safe and compliant.  Assessors ensure that businesses have the correct documentation and checks in place from fire safety to food safety, confirming that the accommodation meets or exceeds minimum standards.

The local entry scheme, the Kent Accommodation Scheme, checks purely legal compliance, cleanliness and maintenance for hotels, B&Bs, guest houses and serviced accommodation.

Accommodation providers pay to participate in all schemes, with the local entry scheme being cheaper than the star rating scheme.

Accommodation business which sign up to Thanet District Council’s new Accommodation Charter are committing to meet a certain level of standards, including legal responsibilities, a good standard of service and cleanliness and have policies in place for complaints and cancellations. While no physical checks will be carried out, once signed up to the Charter these properties can be promoted by the tourism service.  Click here to request further information on the Charter and sign-up forms. 


National Accessibility Scheme

The National Accessible Standards, provided by the National Accessibility Scheme (NAS), provide prospective disabled visitors with an indication of the accessibility of serviced and self-catering accommodation covering three types of impairment – mobility, hearing and sight. A fee is charged to take part and more information is available on the corporate information page of the VisitBritain website 

Find out more about making your accommodation accessible 


Sustainability and Going Green

Find out more about making your accommodation more green tourism