The AA has today announced that it is launching a new COVID CONFIDENT assessment scheme to support the hospitality industry in re-establishing and rebuilding consumer confidence as the UK prepares to come out of lockdown, with each nation working towards a reopening date, the first being England on 4 July.
The AA COVID CONFIDENT accreditation will indicate to customers that an establishment has in place the necessary risk assessments, safety measures and staff training, in line with the Government and UKHospitality’s published guidelines, to reopen safely when permitted to do so by the Government.
The scheme has already been backed by 19 industry bodies including: Master Innholders, HOSPA, Institute of Hospitality, B&B Association, Glamping Association, PASC, ASSC and the Tourism Alliance.
The AA COVID CONFIDENT scheme is open to all hospitality establishments that pass the AA’s stringent criteria, including: hotels; restaurants; pubs; B&Bs and guest accommodation; camping, glamping and holiday parks; self-catering accommodation; hostels; serviced apartments; attractions; and golf courses.
The scheme is free to establishments, with applicants encouraged to make a donation to Hospitality Action here under the option “AA COVID-19 Accreditation”.
To be eligible for the AA COVID CONFIDENT scheme, establishments can apply here and must meet the AA’s criteria, including:
- Supplying a risk assessment
- Being able to provide clear evidence that relevant procedures and measures are in place, and that staff training has taken place
- Completion of an online self-assessment and sign up to the COVID Confident Charter, a code of conduct that will include a commitment to continuing to update procedures and measures as guidelines change, and to submitting to future audits as required
The AA will be providing all those awarded a COVID CONFIDENT mark with regular updates on the latest Government guidelines, Health & Safety Executive Guidelines, and best practice.
Establishments with an AA COVID CONFIDENT mark will be listed on the AA’s consumer facing RatedTrips.com website, making accredited businesses easy for customers to find.
Simon Numphud, Managing Director at AA Media, commented: “COVID-19 has had a profound impact upon all those working in the hospitality sector. At the AA we are committed to supporting our colleagues across the industry as we work together to rebuild consumer confidence. We believe that many members of the public will be looking to enjoy days out, short breaks, eating out and other experiences as lockdown eases, but that confidence in the sector is vital. We hope that the COVID CONFIDENT scheme will be a valuable stepping stone for establishments to restore consumer confidence as lockdown eases.”
Industry bodies backing the AA COVID CONFIDENT scheme are:
- ASAP, Association of Serviced Apartment Providers
- ASSC, Association of Scotland’s Self Caterers
- B&B Association
- Craft Guild of Chefs
- Glamping Association
- HOSPA, The Hospitality Professionals Association
- Hospitality Action
- Hotel Marketing Association
- Institute of Hospitality
- Les Clefs d’Or, The Society of the Golden Keys of Great Britain and the Commonwealth
- Master Innholders
- PASC UK, Professional Association of Self-Caterers UK
- People 1st
- Premier Cottages
- Pride of Britain Hotels
- St Julian Scholars
- Tourism Alliance
- UK Housekeepers Association
- Wales Tourism Alliance
- WASCO, Welsh Association of Self-Caterers
Mark Lewis, Chief Executive at Hospitality Action said: “Hospitality Action is UK hospitality’s benevolent charity, and exists to offer lifelines to hospitality people who find themselves in difficulty or crisis. As hotels restaurants, pub and bars prepare to open their doors again in the coming weeks, there will inevitably be uncertainty, both among staff members and customers guests, around the levels of safety in hospitality environments. We therefore applaud AA Hospitality for creating an industry standard accreditation scheme that offers the reassurance that workers and visitors can return to venues with confidence.”
Peter Hancock, Chief Executive at Pride of Britain Hotels commented: “Our customers throughout the UK will be looking for added reassurance when booking stays over the coming weeks and so we very much welcome this initiative from the AA, in collaboration with UK Hospitality. All of Pride of Britain’s member hotels are going the extra mile to ensure their guests’ comfort and safety and this assessment scheme will help to further demonstrate that commitment.”
The scheme is open to all hospitality establishments. However, any establishment serving food will need to hold a food hygiene score of three and above to be eligible.
The AA has been trusted by the public as a source of hospitality ratings and recommendations, and by the industry as a benchmark for quality, for over 112 years. RatedTrips.com lists over 12,000 AA and VisitEngland rated and recommended hotels, restaurants, pubs, B&Bs, self-catering cottages, caravan and campsites, and beyond, as well as offering travel inspiration via city guides, recommended things to do, information on local attractions, ideas for days out, and suggested places to visit.