Log in

Tourism Accommodation Business Survey

The ASSC ran an online survey to assess levels of professionalism and compliance with existing regulations in September 2021.

Commenting on the survey, Fiona Campbell, CEO of the Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers, said:

“Small tourist accommodation businesses such as self-catering, bed and breakfasts and guest houses have been the backbone of Scotland’s tourist industry for generations. This important survey illustrates that nearly three-quarters of such business owners consider themselves to be professional operators, many of whom will have been present in their community for decades, boosting the local economy. We believe these findings can be used to help inform conversations pertaining to the Scottish Government’s Licensing Order.

Professional small businesses – who already comply with numerous regulations – are under threat from an onerous and bureaucratic licensing scheme. This comes at a time when the sector can least afford it as many businesses are still in survival mode due to the pandemic. Instead of burdening operators, policymakers should instead look to protect businesses and livelihoods at this critical phase of Covid-19 recovery with a proportionate and targeted compromise with their proposed legislation.

The ASSC’s exemption proposal for registered accommodation ensures the appropriate regulatory balance – one which supports jobs and livelihoods but also secures the Scottish Government’s policy objectives in a more proportionate and cost-effective manner for those already complying with the proposed mandatory licensing conditions.”

  • In just 72 hours, the ASSC gathered 1484 responses from accommodation businesses across Scotland, which includes traditional self-catering, bed and breakfasts, guest houses and small hotels plus, agri-tourism businesses, caravans and shepherd’s huts and other glamping accommodation.
  • Responses received were from both ASSC members (675) and non-ASSC members (809) alike, in each of the 32 local authorities.
  • It is hoped that the survey results will inform greater discussion regarding the Scottish Government’s short-term let legislation proposals.
  • It is also hoped that the responses received provide an insight into the make-up of small tourism accommodation businesses across Scotland, which form the backbone of Scotland’s vital tourism offer.
  • The full list of questions and survey results are set out below.


On the whole, small tourism accommodation businesses across Scotland are operating at a professional level[1]Three quarters (1089 respondents – 74%) consider themselves to be professional operators.

The professional standing on respondents is further justified as:

  • 97% have public liability insurance
  • 67% are ASSC members
  • 61% have their own website

The majority of survey respondents (80%) operate self-catering businesses. Of the 1185 self-catering operators responded,

  • Almost three quarters (74%) consider themselves “professional operators
  • 90% confirmed that their business meets the definition of a self-catering property as defined in The Council Tax (Dwellings and Part Residential Subjects) (Scotland) Regulations 1992. In addition, 84% pay non-domestic rates and let out their properties for more than 140 days per annum. 92% are occupied more than 70 days. These are both key indicators that they are operating as a business not just to generate additional income.
  • 97% have public liability business insurance

Of the 338 B&B/Guest House operators responded, 81% consider themselves to be professional operators and 80% state the accommodation business is their primary source of income.

  • 45% are on the non-domestic rates roll while 54% pay council tax
  • Of those that offer food, 90% can confirm that the business is registered and has been passed by the local authority’s Food Hygiene Information Scheme (Food Standards Scotland)? OR the local authority has confirmed that this is not required for your business?
  • 74% have a listing on VisitScotland
  • 30% market their property through Airbnb amongst other platforms

Read the full results: ASSC-Tourism-Accommodation-Business-Survey-September-2021

[1] A professional operator / business can be defined by the Scottish Government according to the criteria set out as part of the Covid-19 Support Grants


Get the latest from the sector

Stay up to date with our self-catering newsletter

Contact us


07379 257749

Follow us

Terms and Conditions | Privacy Policy