Have you ever entered any tourism awards? This year, we’ve chosen to sponsor a couple of the regional elements of the South West Tourism Awards. So we’re paying close attention to how awards and industry acclaim can help raise awareness for hosts and accommodation operators.
If you know Touch Stay you’ll know we’re all about acing the guest experience. Your guests recognise you for that in their reviews, feedback and work of mouth holiday stories that they tell their friends. But perhaps there’s also an award out there that would bring you broader recognition, put your efforts on a pedestal for more people in the industry to see, to learn from, and for more guests to discover.
Reasons to go after award nominations
Depending on the award you’re choosing to enter or have been nominated for, the ‘why’ may differ as much as the mechanics of the process. But before you get knee deep in the effort, decide on what you’ll do if glory lands at your feet and whether it’ll be worth it if it doesn’t.
Reflect on just how much you’ve achieved in your business
3, 2, 1… The prospect of crafting an award entry may fill you with dread or have you clambering for the keyboard. Either way, and depending on what the award entry asks of you, the process of detailing your application will be a cathartic experience. It’s rare we take time to reflect on what the everyday of our businesses actually enables us to achieve. Not all goals and milestones will spur flag waving in those around you, but cumulatively, the effects will be shifting your business on to greater things.
Nominated, shortlisted, finalist, winner are all titles that reflect success
Lots of tourism awards recognise a multitude of entrants, not just the award winners. Some award schemes have a knock-out style system where applicants are chosen as finalists from which the eventual winner is picked. Instantly, if you make that list you have the benefit of having been heralded an awards finalist – well done! Similarly, if your entry is shortlisted for an award, that’s an accolade you can shout from the rooftops too.
Earn the external recognition your business deserves
It’s time to hoof that humble tendency into the wings, stand tall and take in the rapturous applause. If you’re uncomfortable with the limelight of being an award winning accommodation operator, reflect on what’s secured you that win rather than the trophy itself. That award entry you wrote will be brimful with stories you can put to use in your marketing – on your website, through your social media activity, in email marketing and in conversation with your guests.
Use the accolades to amplify your appeal
Park your modesty long enough to ensure it’s clear in all your marketing materials that you’re now award winning. Here are some ideas how you might do this:
- Add the awards badge to your website – maybe you have an awards or external recognition banner already there; others pop awards logos in the footer; it’s also sensible to mention award wins on your ‘about’ page
- Update your ‘bio’ or ‘boilerplate’ statements to reference that you’re award winning. If character limits allow, specifically reference which award category you won and the awards scheme or organiser.
- When introducing your business, in conversation or in the written word, update how you describe it to reference that award nomination, shortlist or win, too.
Not all awards are equal
Don’t get me wrong, not all awards are equal – those that require payment to enter fall foul of the compass of worthy recognition. But those that truly invest in assessing your application, question your approach, and maybe even experience it first hand are awards worth entering. Especially those that then shout about their winners loudly and proudly as much for your benefit as theirs.
South West Tourism Awards
If you’re in south west England you may already be familiar with the South West Tourism Awards and their county spurs. This year, Touch Stay is sponsoring two county award categories:
Businesses in Cornwall, Devon, Somerset and Dorset can enter their respective county schemes which have their own individual awards announcements and celebrations. Finalists for the regional ‘South West’ Tourism Awards are selected from winners in each county alongside entrants from Gloucestershire and Wiltshire. Winners from that stage are often then nominated for the national VisitEngland awards.
So starting local could even lead to recognition in tourism awards beyond your county border, and imagine how many people would then get to hear about your excellence in guest experience. It’s got to be worth a shot, hasn’t it…?
If you’re entering, we look forward to seeing you along the way. If you’re not in the south west of England or even in the UK, why not see what tourism awards are available for you to enter where you are.
Good luck! And please let us know how you get on – we’d certainly love to raise a glass in celebration with you.