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Visit Scotland | Alba

VisitScotland Quality Assurance Scheme - Enquiry Form

What will be assessed?

Your business will receive a Quality Assurance Grading Visit by one of our Quality and Tourism Advisors, who will ensure the correct Star rating is awarded to your establishment following an objective overview and assessment of the guest experience. 

There are two main aspects which are assessed: 

  • The appropriate levels of quality must score in line with the star rating awarded 

  • All minimum entry requirements, including confirmation of compliance with all applicable statutory obligations, need to be in place. 

In addition,  you will also be assessed for Taste our Best. Your Quality and Tourism Advisor will automatically assess you for VisitScotland’s Taste Our Best food and drink award as part of your overnight Quality Assurance visit, at no extra cost to you. You are under no obligation to accept the award and whether your business achieves a Taste Our Best award or not has no bearing on your star award.   

How are businesses scored?

During the visit, the Quality and Tourism Advisor will make an assessment in a potential 47 areas, depending on the nature of the business, giving a score out of 5 to reflect the intrinsic quality and condition of an item, level of service or hospitality, or level of cleanliness. 

The 1-5 score reflects a quality range from an acceptable to an exceptional standard: 

  • 5/5 - exceptional 
  • 4/5 - excellent
  • 3/5 - very good
  • 2/5 - good
  • 1/5 - acceptable 

Key areas and scoring

Once all sections are assessed, an overall score will give a percentage that will place your accommodation in the parameters of one of the 5 grading bands. However, it is not simply the overall percentage that determines the final award. For any award, there are 5 key areas that must meet minimum scores of the final award that is confirmed. For example: 

 

1 Star 

2 Star 

3 Star 

4 Star 

5 Star 

Overall % 

30 – 46% 

47 – 54% 

55 – 69% 

70 – 84% 

85 – 100% 

Cleanliness 

65% 

65% 

65% 

75% 

90% 

Hospitality and friendliness 

40% 

50% 

65% 

75% 

90% 

Bedrooms 

30% 

47% 

55% 

70% 

85% 

Bathrooms 

30% 

47% 

55% 

70% 

85% 

Food 

30% 

47% 

55% 

70% 

85% 

 

  • If any of the 5 key areas score below the band of the overall percentage, it is the lower award that will be confirmed
  • In addition, if a small serviced accommodation provider scores a two or below for cleanliness, this will result in no award being confirmed, as the property will be failing to meet visitor expectations to merit an award

Please note where any area is not applicable, no assessment will be made and there will be no penalty for not providing any of these facilities or services. 

Areas scored

Gold Star awards

The Gold Star award accolade was introduced to highlight establishments within the Quality Assurance scheme that strive to exceed customer expectations on an on-going basis, whilst taking an innovative and proactive approach to customer care.

These awards can be achieved by properties at any star grade. In order to be considered for a Gold Star award, establishments must demonstrate a track record of exceptional hospitality and service delivery, well in excess of what is expected at the particular star grade. Determining factors will therefore include current Quality Assurance scores (particularly hospitality and service), Quality Assurance scoring history and guest feedback.  

To achieve a Gold Star award, a business must:  

  • Demonstrate outstanding hospitality and customer care delivered over an extended period of time

  • Significantly exceed levels of hospitality and service expected at their Star rating

  • Provide an extensive and high quality selection of food which demonstrates an appreciation of local produce in line with the principles of VisitScotland’s Taste Our Best food scheme

  • Meet expectations of their award in all other areas (bedrooms, bathrooms etc)

  • Show an element of 'wow factor' in what they do in line with their Star rating 

  • Demonstrate innovation and a clear anticipation of guest needs

  • Show a clear commitment towards inclusive and responsible tourism

  • Demonstrate positive and professional approach to guest feedback

The percentage requirements are listed for each Star rating, however, these are only guidelines and there are many other elements to achieving a Gold Star award. 

Gold Star award percentage requirements: 

  

1 Star 

2 Star 

3 Star 

4 Star 

5 Star 

Overall percentage 

56% 

60% 

74% 

85% 

93% 

Cleanliness 

75% 

75% 

75% 

90% 

95% 

Hospitality and friendliness 

75% 

75% 

75% 

90% 

95% 

Service and efficiency  

75% 

75% 

75% 

90% 

95% 

Food 

70% 

70% 

70% 

80% 

90% 

Bedrooms 

46% 

53% 

66% 

77% 

88% 

Bathrooms 

46% 

53% 

66% 

76% 

86% 

Pubic areas 

46% 

53% 

66% 

80% 

90% 

Dining areas 

46% 

53% 

66% 

80% 

90% 

There is no need to apply separately for a Gold Star award – every business is considered for these through their Quality Assurance membership. Proposed Gold Star awards require confirmation by the Quality Review Committee and may involve a second incognito visit to confirm eligibility for an award. It is unlikely that a business would achieve a Gold award in its first year of operation. 

Award confirmation and report

After your visit you will receive a detailed written report on the guest experience with individual scores applied to each section. Areas in which you excel will be highlighted and advice given on areas to strengthen. This will give you a benchmark for maintaining the current level of award and detail any improvements to implement should you wish to aim for a higher award. 

Ultimately, offering a consistent level of quality across all areas of the business should help manage guest expectations and enhance the guest experience.