Setting up an Accommodation Business

Visitor spending is worth an estimated £389million to West Norfolk each year with 11 per cent being spent on accommodation.


We all know West Norfolk is a fantastic place to live, work and play and you can offer that experience to visitors, create job opportunities and contribute to the local economy by setting up an accommodation business. 


Setting up an accommodation business is an extremely exciting venture with many rewards.  Running the business can be hard work at times and is usually seven days a week, however, giving that homely, personal feel as 'host' can be immensely rewarding and is a great way to meet people as well as earn an income.  Below are some general points to consider and contacts where you can find professional and accurate advice. 


1. Check with planning

2. Building regulations

3. Environmental Health

4. Fire safety

5. Get your quality grading

6. Advertise in the West Norfolk Holiday Guide

7. Employing staff

8. Join a local association

9. Give your guests that something 'extra' 

10. Be responsible

Contact us



1. Check with planning


Planning permission is required when the overall character of a house as a private dwelling is affected by the extent of the bed and breakfast use and the use has materially changed.


To find out if this will apply to your new business - Speak to a Duty Planner by telephoning 01553 616314.


See the Planning leaflet 'How to start a B&B' by visiting the Borough Planning Web Pages


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2. Building Regulations


If you are modifying your house/dwelling to become a bed and breakfast, it is likely you will require building regulations throughout works.  It is important that issues such as structural safety, the need to minimise CO2 emissions, adequate drainage arrangements, sound insulation between properties, and fire safety are properly considered during design and construction.


For further advise on building regulations visit the Local Authority Building Control Page or contact Building Control on 01553 616581 or e-mail 


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3. Environmental Health


All food related businesses must be registered with the local authority Environmental Health Department 28 days before the business is due to open.  This will apply for all hotels and bed and breakfasts/guest houses etc.


For information on how to register; visit the Environmental Health Page 'Registration of a Food Premises'


Contact the Environmental Health Dept. at the Borough Council for more information on 01553 616200.


4. Fire safety


Due to the Fire Reform Regulations Act 2006, all businesses are required by law to produce a fire risk assessment and review it annually. 


For further advice contact Norfolk County Fire Service on 01603 810351, email Norfolk Fire Service  or visit the Norfolk County Fire Service website.


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5. Get your quality grading


Quality is an integral part to achieving a world class competitive tourism industry in England.  Participation in the National Quality Assurance Standards are vital to raise the standards throughout the industry and develop West Norfolk as a top 'quality' destination.  There are two organisations that carry out assessments to national standards and criteria.


Quality in Tourism/Visit Britain (Enjoy England)

The Quality Assurance standards offer a variety of benefits including; promotional opportunities in the Enjoy England guides and website, detailed assessment and analysis, a nationally recognised quality grading, up to date industry information via newsletters.  Contact Quality in Tourism for an information pack by telephoning 0845 300 6996, email Quality in Tourism visit the Quality in Tourism website or write to:


Quality in Tourism

Security House

Alexander Way




GL20 8NB


The AA


The AA also carry out inspections for serviced accommodation only.  Contact the AA on 01256 844 455, email the AA, visit the AA website- Accommodation Services -  or by post:


AA Hotel Services
14th Floor, Fanum House
Basing View
RG21 4EA


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6. Advertise in the West Norfolk Holiday Guide


The West Norfolk Holiday Guide is a crucial promotional material combining the tourism product of West Norfolk.  You can request a copy or download to view it now.  Each year 110,000 copies of the guide are produced and distributed through advertising campaigns, the TIC national network and by local distribution.

The cost of advertising varies depending on size of advert you wish to place. 


We send out the advertising rate cards in the Autumn for entry in the following years brochure.  In the mean time you can advertise on our accommodation website for a cost per month up until November when we renew our accommodation advertisers for the next brochure.  The website enables potential visitors to use the searchable database to select their accommodation.  They can search by type and location. 


When advertising on the website and brochure you will also benefit from promotion through our tourist information centres in Hunstanton, King's Lynn and Downham Market.  Our website address is heavily featured and promoted on all of our publications and marketing material so you are effectively buying into a whole promotion package, not just placing an advert in a brochure.


Please note that the Borough Council of King's Lynn and West Norfolk only advertises accommodation which has been quality assessed by Visit Britain (Enjoy England) or the AA, or has recently applied for a rating and is awaiting assessment.  Assessments are carried out to national standards and criteria.  To find out how to become graded see point 5. Get your Quality Grading.


To find out more or to request the advertising forms contact us


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7. Employing staff


You may need to employ people to help you with your new business, if you have never done this before, it is important to get the right information; below are two organisations which will offer you friendly and professional advice.


For employment advice contact Business Link East who have a comprehensive guide to employing people on the Business Link East website or to speak to an advisor on 08457 171615.


For start up businesses there is also Norfolk and Waveney Enterprise Services (NWES).  NWES has an office in King’s Lynn in Priory House, Tuesday Market Place.  Telephone 01553 666200 or visit their NWES website.


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8. Join a local association


Local Associations are the best way to keep abreast of issues affecting your business, you will benefit from group lobbying on major issues, support and advice  - If you have a problem it is likely that another owner is experiencing the same - you are not alone. 


It is also a great way to network, keep up to date with information and developments and to discuss local, regional and national issues affecting you all.  Some associations are listed below


Hunstanton Accommodation Association


The organisation promotes high standards of quality throughout the accommodation sector, it is open to any size accommodation establishment to join but properties must be quality assessed.


West Norfolk Hospitality Association


Originally formed as a self help group for accommodation providers in and around King's Lynn, the WNHA also invites restaurants to join too, as many share similar concerns.  The group benefits from shared information and networking, has a collective lobbying voice and has a representative on various local groups such as Norfolk Tourism, West Norfolk Tourism Forum and Pub Watch. 


If you are an accommodation provider or restauranteur in the King's Lynn & West Norfolk Borough you are welcome to join.  To find out more e-mail the West Norfolk Hospitality Association secretary.


Discover West Norfolk


With a wide membership, including attractions and accommodation providers, Discover West Norfolk is an active group enthusiastically promoting business for its members through their own leaflet racks and website.


To find out how to become a member visit the Discover West Norfolk website


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9. Give your guests that something 'extra'


Pop into your nearest tourist information centre to collect leaflets and information your guests will find useful whilst on holiday in West Norfolk.   At King's Lynn and Hunstanton TIC there are a number of leaflets and publications detailing all the great places to visit, things do to and all the events happening throughout West Norfolk. 


Why not make a pack for all of your bedrooms detailing the fantastic places for guests to visit whilst staying at your accommodation.  The Visit West Norfolk website gives great ideas for days out, up to date events and local information such as car parking etc.


Why not arrange a visit to some local attractions to familiarise yourself with what's on offer for your guests.  Many attractions will give familiarisation visits at no charge if asked in advance.  This personal touch will help repeat business.


Get on mailing lists for places such as Corn Exchange, Princess Theatre and Westacre Theatre.  This will give you up to date programme information to give your guests.  Also regularly look at the 'Whats on' section of this site for all information on local events in West Norfolk each month.


Increase your local knowledge by becoming an Ambassador for King's Lynn and West Norfolk.  The Economic Regeneration and Tourism departments at the Borough Council regularly run FREE Ambassador training programs to increase knowledge of West Norfolk and what it offers visitors as well as promoting good customer service.  They are aimed at anyone who may come into contact with a visitor so are ideal for yourself or members of your staff.  To find out more visit the Ambassadors Training Programme webpage.


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10. Do business responsibly


The Borough Council of King's Lynn and West Norfolk Waste & Recycling Management team provide a waste disposal and recycling service for trade waste.  Visit the Trade Waste Collection page to find out more or contact the Waste and Recycling department on 01553 616760 to discuss your requirements.  Alternatively private sector companies can be sourced to dispose of general waste and specialist waste such as cooking oils and fats.


Wherever possible - serve locally sourced produce.  West Norfolk is renowned for its locally farmed meats, fruit and vegetables along with fresh fish and sea food straight from the North Sea and Wash.


For more advice on environmental issues visit the Environment Agency website.  For water safety and advice visit the Anglian Water website.


Actively promote Green Travel through the use of the Borough's public transport network, timetables for various bus services and train operators can be obtained from the Tourist Information Centres. 


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Contact us

We are here to help you, for further advice and information, or to request an advertising form,  please contact the tourism department:


Tourism Support Officer

Borough Council of King's Lynn and West Norfolk

King's Court

Chapel Street

King's Lynn


PE30 1EX


Tel: 01553 61 6639 or e-mail:


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Last updated: 02 September 2015
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