Tips from Past Winners

Thank you to our recent winners who have kindly contributed the following short case studies.

Westward Living
Westward Living

westwardliving.co.uk

International Visitor Experience of the Year, Gold, South West Tourism Excellence Awards 2017/18

International Visitor Experience of the Year, Gold, Devon Tourism Awards 2017/18

Why did you enter the awards?

We entered the awards for lots of reasons, you can never stay still in hospitality and the market is constantly evolving, this is a great way for us to test if were are delivering everything we should be delivering at the highest possible level. Its also a great motivational goal for the team to be recognised and  potentially attend an awards ceremony at the end the season

 

How did you find the process?

The process is quite straight forward, not only does it make you stop and think about every element of your business, its a great opportunity to review and enhance what your doing with all the team.  We chose to include input from the whole team on the application form which made it much easier, this also enabled us to come up with new ideas for next season.

 

The rewards?

The rewards are really what you make them, its great for the team to know they are doing a great job and its motivating to continue and get bigger and better, the impact on the business is down to how we market the success, we know that this award gives our brand integrity and as there is so much choice in the market place for accommodation providers, a respected and trusted logo on our marketing is priceless.  The most significant reward we have seen since winning a Gold in the International Visitor Experience category was to be approached by a Golf Tour Operator who has identified us a partner to work with as an accommodation provider for their European clients outside of the core season.

 

 

Do start thinking about your application early as it takes a lot of thought, involve as many of your team as possible in the brainstorming process.  Enjoy it, and see this as an opportunity to grow your business - it enhances what you do well and makes you evaluate what could be improved, its like revisiting your business plan.  If your lucky enough to get to the ceremony its such a great night regardless of where you are placed.

Southview Lodges
Southview Lodges

www.southviewlodges.co.uk

Self Catering Provider, Gold, South West Tourism Excellence Awards 2016/17

Self Catering Provider, Gold, Devon Tourism Awards 2016

Why did you enter the awards?

We entered the awards so we could see where we were in the market place. We knew we had a good product and our guests love it, but we wanted expert opinions areas that we did well on and areas where we could improve. Entering the awards certainly did this. Whether you win or don't win, the feedback is second to none.

How did you find the process?

The process of entering is fairly easy, it's time consuming and I glad I gave myself a month to do it rather then cramming it in in a few days. You need to spend a fair amount of time answering the questions and be true to yourself.

The Rewards

The rewards have been great! Knowing that we have won gold in our category is mind blowing. But never rest on your laurels, we're still spending a lot of time and money on getting even better. But we now have a bench mark.

Top tips for other businesses...

My main tip for other businesses thinking about entering would be, don't think about whether you should enter! Just enter!! It's a great way to re evaluate your business, winning is just a bonus. 

Thelma Hulbert Gallery
Thelma Hulbert Gallery www.thelmahulbert.com

Access & Inclusivity, Silver, South West Tourism Excellence Awards 2016/17
Access & Inclusivity, Gold, Devon Tourism Awards 2016

Why did you enter the awards?

We enter the awards to benchmark our venue against the best other tourism venues across the region.

How did you find the process?

The application does take time to complete but we found it a useful process, which made us drill down to discover our key strengths and innovations.

The Rewards

It is a huge reward to be recognized amongst the high calibre tourism businesses in the region. We get to celebrate the incredible work of our staff and volunteers, which is a real morale boost for the team. The award is a great accolade, which speaks to both existing and new visitors and from a marketing standpoint helps us standout amongst our competition.

Top tips to other businesses...

It is tempting when you have so many great stories to tell to put everything down but it is best to look at what each question is specifically asking for. Don’t let being a small venue put you off, if you are succeeding you need an opportunity to shout about it.

Longlands
Longlands www.longlandsdevon.co.uk

Glamping, Gold, South West Tourism Excellence Awards 2016/17
Glamping, Gold, Devon Tourism Awards 2016

Why did you enter the awards?

We entered the awards as we knew that if we were lucky to win it would be a powerful marketing and conversion tool to add to our website, use on social media and ensure good editorial coverage.

How did you find the process?

It is amazing how long it takes to write eight 300 word answers! I spent about a month ensuring I had wording that I was happy with then discussing it with my team and redrafting accordingly. Then I needed to make sure we had all the evidence and working links to the relevant parts of the website. All of this takes time. The questions in themselves were not hard and the process was quite simple to follow.

The Rewards

Just going through the process provides an excellent opportunity to thoroughly evaluate what you do, how you do it and is it worth it! Not only did we benefit from some serious introspection but we won! Winning Devon and then the South West and being a VisitEngland finalist has provided plenty of tools with which to help sell our business and interest and bookings have increased as a result. Definitely worth all the effort…that’s why I am entering again!

Top tips to other businesses...

Give yourself plenty of time. Start by jotting down ideas under each of the headings and involve all your team. They can really bring some valuable insights to the table. Hone your thoughts and convey your points clearly and concisely. And don’t forget to include evidence for every point you make either in the form of a link or a reference to a point in your supporting document.