SITU Credibility Programme – Partnering with Quality in Tourism!

Our next partnership for the SITU Credibility Programme is Quality in Tourism!

SITU is a global agent of serviced accommodation, which is a very broad statement. It takes a lot to keep our checks and balances on the various types of accommodation across the globe.  Quality in Tourism have decades of experience and can deliver quality feedback and assessments globally. This feedback ensures a property is Safe, Clean and Legal.  This partnership highlights SITU’s efforts to deliver the best product and experience globally through a network of accredited suppliers.   

Quality in Tourism

We interviewed Deborah Heather, CEO of Quality in Tourism, to gain a further understanding of the work they do. We also ask what partnering with SITU means to them!

Tell me about your company

As a company soon to be relaunched as QIA Services (Quality International Assessment Services), we work across many sectors. These include assessing and accrediting Further Education providers for the UK Ministry of Defence. We describe ourselves as a software and soft skills company. We use our own systems and evolve them to be adaptable as solutions, especially during the pandemic.

However, our passion lies in hospitality and tourism. For over 15 years we ran the outsourced VisitEngland star rating program. We ran this alongside contracts in South Africa, the Channel Islands and Ireland and the Isle of Man.

Having separated from VisitEngland in 2017, we were able to devise our own accreditation schemes. These work across the industry, taking a much more consumer-focused approach. In 2018 we wrote Safe, Clean & Legal™, developed new non-prescriptive star rating schemes and wrote REST (Responsible, Ethical, Sustainable Tourism/Travel). Since then, we have developed a Wellbeing Program called WellBMe. We also developed a Sustainable/Quality Food Program called F.A.R.E (Food, Authentic, Responsible & Ethical).

Having completed a management buyout from our parent company in May 2021 we are rebranding and relaunching at the end of the summer. We are also working towards B-Corp status. However, we already have a larger market penetration than VisitEngland and the AA put together in the UK and are making to making strong inroads across international markets.

Why should we recommend suppliers to go through the Quality in Tourism partnership/accreditation process?

Quality in Tourism takes a supportive approach. We see ourselves as the conduit of best practices. We are able to share solutions and support because of all the hospitality businesses we work with. Quality in Tourism don’t fail businesses, we help them get over the line, and we pride ourselves on our customer care, we are the antithesis of the old school inspectors.

Accreditation is the new hot topic, as a direct result of guests and corporate customers being savvier in the first place and in the second recognising their duty of care responsibilities. Our Safe, Clean & Legal accreditation is the only one recommended by Which? magazine to consumers who describe “We’re Good to Go”  as a “useless piece of paper”. There is a lot of press interest in this area currently. The Which articles focussing on holidays, leisure and tourism currently, but come a renaissance in business travel there will be an inevitable shift in expectations.

These accreditations are not about rules and regulations, they are about professionalising the industry and will work to create a competitive advantage for properties with 3rd party accreditation that is not simply marking your own homework or self-certification. It’s worth noting the rise of the STR market and the blurring of the use of property pieces, being ahead of the competition and keeping striving to do better is the nature of modern-day practice.  Agencies will also be looking for properties that have these stamps to satisfy the duty of care aspects of a corporate program.

 Tell us about what a partnership with SITU means to you

As a highly respected agency with great market penetration and a supportive view towards professionalising the industry, SITU and QIA Services is a great match. We seek to support the work of SITU by ensuring properties are fit for purpose. We do this whilst SITU supports our role in the industry driving professional standards forward. This is a very special partnership with QIA Services. It is a chance for us to develop our penetration in serviced apartments. We recognise there are other accreditation bodies in the area of serviced apartments, but we believe our unique “whole” market approach supports the sharing of best practise and we will deliver this market intelligence both to SITU and the properties/operators that work with them.

To find out more about the Quality in Tourism programme or why SITU has decided to partner up with them, follow the link!