Application Process

When a company has submitted an application, paid the application fee and sent a verification of payment to Vakinn, the name of the company is published on the list of companies under evaluation. Accommodation providers must hold the required licences to be eligible for participation in Vakinn.

The company must submit a copy of the safety plan for the accommodation along with a description of employee training (higher star ratings). Members of the Vakinn team are ready to assist and consult regarding safety plans and other issues during the application process. When a Vakinn representative has approved safety plans and other documents, that must be submitted prior to the initial audit, it is time to set a date for the audit. Vakinn reserves the right to allow up to three months until the audit is scheduled.

Initial Audit

During the audit, the Vakinn representative assesses the accommodation according to the applicable quality criteria and the environmental criteria. The company representatives explain how the criteria is met. The Vakinn representative reviews the documents that must be available during the audit. The audit offers a perfect opportunity to get advice and guidance.  

Before the audit the Vakinn representative has, among other things, reviewed the company website and checked phone answering.

During the audit, the Vakinn representative must review the following documents. It is important that these are available (as appropriate). 

Necessary documents for fulfilling minimum criteria for all star ratings:

  1. Safety plan for the accommodation must be submitted to Vakinn prior to the audit.
  2. Plan on safety and health in the workplace according to guidelines from the Administration of Occupational Safety and Health.
  3. Operating licence, from the District Commissioner.
  4. Tour Operator licence, if the company offers organised tours. 
  5. Valid First Aid certificates (for at least one employee).
  6. Copy of a written employment contract/subcontracting agreement.
  7. Workplace identification cards (in accordance with labour regulations and a binding agreement between the parties of the labour market).
  8. A copy of a customer receipt/invoice.
  9. Copy of monthly guest reports, submitted to Statistics Iceland.

 Documents for fulfilling minimum criteria for higher star ratings:

  1. Written overview of formal training of employees. Must be submitted to Vakinn prior to audit.
  2. Guest information/advertised services.
  3. Service manual/employee handbook 
  4. Examples of job descriptions (role, responsibilities, conduct). 
  5. Menu (where lunch and/or dinner is offered).
  6. Written procedures for the handling of customer complaints.
  7. Information from guest surveys/reviews from satisfied guests. 

Please note that minimum requirements may vary between types of accommodation and different star ratings. It is important to review the applicable criteria carefully. The above list is not conclusive; some items listed may not apply to all types of accommodation.

Documents for the Environmental System:

1. Completed checklist (“On the way to sustainable tourism”).
2. Action plan for sustainable tourism.
3. The company‘s environmental policy must be published on the company website.
4. Monitoring reports (for silver and gold classification).

Please note that the applicant is responsible for the compilation and the content of the documents presented, including safety plans, and their implementation in the company operations.  

Following the Audit

  • Following the audit, the company receives a report stating whether the company has fulfilled the applicable criteria and is eligible to participate in Vakinn.   
  • If the company does not fulfil the required minimum criteria, it is granted three months to make improvements. If the initial audit needs to be repeated, the company will be charged for that separately according to the Vakinn tariff.
  • Regular audits involve follow-up and continuing guidance.

New participants in Vakinn accommodation star rating receive the following:

  • Appropriate star rating signs.  
  • Vakinn certificate and the Vakinn Code of Ethics.
  • Vakinn electronic logos to be displayed on the company website and in promotional materials.
  • Vakinn flag (where a flagpole is in place).
  • Companies taking part in the environmental system get the appropriate sign based on their classification.