There are a lot of predictions and planning assumptions being made around convid-19 recovery and what it may or may not mean or require. Few are yet dead certainties. However, I believe that those who still think that online consumer reviews have made quality awards and standards, accreditation, quality marks etc. largely redundant, may need to think again? Certainly all the major groups like Accor, Marriot and Hilton are developing and rolling out their own new in-house standards and procedures designed ultimately, I would suggest, to help give future customer confidence in their product, in a changed world: (https://www.hospitalitynet.org/news/4098377.html).
I am also aware that these moves have not gone unnoticed and various sectors within the visitor economy, from independent accommodation, attractions, retail to food and beverage, who are thinking along the same lines. A number of destinations are also pondering whether or not there is a role for a coordinated destination approach in their recovery planning? They key question being how to give a wide range of different, mainly SME’s and micro businesses, easy access to the similar levels of public reassurance that the multi nationals can provide for themselves. There is certainly some merit in considering local interventions but there will be a range of local circumstances from the availability of local expertise, through funding to the potential resistance from existing local schemes, that may make a bespoke local solution difficult for a DMO to deliver relatively quickly themselves?
Perhaps not unsurprisingly I have discovered that colleagues in Quality in Tourism QT) are already well ahead of the game and developing a potential solution. They are evolving their existing Safe, Clean & Legal accreditation in conjunction with Cornwall Council as the Primary Authority Partner. The partnership is valid throughout the UK. Safe, Clean & Legal will include cleaning standards which cover best practice across all tourism accommodation sectors initially, but will evolve further to support restaurants, pubs, social clubs, attractions, retail etc.
Whilst it is recognised business that potentially pose the most risk to guests and staff will need a full accreditation, desktop reviews are available for smaller less high-risk business and advice and guidance to those who need support and guidance for example in retail. Quality in Tourism are keen to collaborate with Local Authorities and Destination Management Companies by providing an off the shelf accreditation solution and advice to communities, if and wherever it is needed.
I don’t underestimate the difficulties of promoting commercial solutions to hard pressed businesses at this time, but that shouldn’t discourage exploratory discussion that might lead to a solutions being in place, ready to help maximise the benefits of the recovery when and in whatever form it may take. More detail of the QT proposals to follow. In the meantime, if anyone wishes to have informal discussions with QT direct, I am happy put you in touch.