Whether it's a rating from an official body or being listed in exclusive guides, having an official seal of approval for your rooms can make a world of difference to your bookings.

But what are the inspectors looking for when they come to stay? We spoke to a couple to help you prepare for the next mystery visit.


1. Cleanliness
You can have all the Egyptian cotton sheets you like but if your pub isn't clean you will get the kind of report kids try to hide from parents. It's the number one thing the AA expects when checking in.


2. Hospitality and friendliness of staff
This isn't far behind on the list of priorities. A simple smile and hello to recognise a customer is the start you need. Fail to do that and you're losing points before anyone has made it as far as the bedroom.


3. Service
Nobody is expecting a 24-hour concierge service at a pub, but things such as offering to carry bags up the stairs and being ready to serve at breakfast without the guest having to find you will get the right boxes ticked.



4. Check-in
You are not a hotel and as such you are being judged on a different set of criteria. The AA will not expect you to necessarily have a check-in desk, but they will want to do this in an area away from the beer pumps.


5. The little extras
We're not sure if inspectors are simply biscuit crazy but both of the two we spoke to said local treats such as biscuits or fudge make a far greater impression than those bourbons that look like they've been hanging around since Christmas. AA commercial manager Alistair Sandall says: "Don't bother with chocolates on the pillow. It's a waste of time and just creates mess for everyone in the morning."


6. Flowers
If you want to make the leap to a five-star venue the devil is in the detail. Fresh flowers make a great impression but replenish them regularly or you'll be achieving the exact opposite.




7. Breakfast
Never to be underestimated, as it is the last impression you get to make. Alistair points to little details such as milk and cereals being fresh and in glass containers rather than packaging. A cooked breakfast is generally expected for a high score but Alistair adds that a good Continental can be just the ticket, especially if the pub is not ideally equipped to provide a full English.




8. The shower
Thankfully, Alistair says that the "traditional British shower" with a trickle of freezing cold or scalding hot water is becoming a thing of the past. People have power showers at home and they expect at least as good when they stay away.


9. The bed
If in doubt, the bigger the better. This is not an area where you should be scrimping. David Hancock, managing director of top-end pub accommodation website Inn Places, says: "High on the room 'essentials' list is a quality bed topped with the best linen and duvets to ensure a comfortable night's sleep."

10. TV
Standard in most rooms and is definitely expected by the AA. Pubs that dispense with TV's are likely to be penalised.


11. Accessories
While hotels simply have to have hairdryers and irons to get a star worth having, this is still seen as more or a bonus in pubs. Radios and iPad docking stations are not essential but they can impress.


12. Mirrors
Try to have at least one full length and one vanity mirror. Not doing so could be reflected in your rating.


13. Flooring
Whether carpet or wooden, the quality and comfort provided will be taken into consideration. Nobody wants to wipe their feet before they step outside the room.


14. Drinks and food
Inspectors will be judging more than just the bedrooms so for a five-star rating you'll need to provide a premium offer. David says: "It's about attention to detail throughout the business — are the drinks on the bar premium? The rooms could be great but what is it like downstairs?"



15. Working with inspectors
They are not looking to find fault but they will want to give you feedback after their stay. Work with them to improve for the next time they stay the night.