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If you run a West Country holiday business, it could well be a good idea to enter an award scheme this year, says Robin Barker of Services for Tourism.
On a day-to-day basis, many West Country tourism businesses find they work very much in isolation, busy looking after customers and planning for the future. But how can you find out what others in the industry are up to, how your offer compares, and whether you are at the cutting edge in terms of service?
There is an answer: enter for a tourism award. My company runs the leading schemes in the South West and we have seen entries up by nearly 30% since 2015. When I ask businesses why they enter, they give me a range of answers:
Of course, winning remains the main goal for many but, despite not enjoying it much, many entrants also welcome the discipline that comes from completing the dreaded entry form. Some compare it to the annual business plan or going to the dentist. It’s not fun, but you know it’s good for you.
Some query the role of awards in an era of online reviews, such as TripAdvisor, but these platforms are changing, with many morphing into online travel agencies with commercial goals. We also all know that some businesses manage their online reputation better than others.
There is also the chance to progress to even greater recognition. In our schemes for Devon, Cornwall, Dorset and Bristol, Bath & Somerset, finalists are nominated to represent the region in the national VisitEngland awards. For the past four years the South West has had more finalists than any other region
and our goal is to keep it that way.
One regular entrant, Patrick Langmaid of Mother Ivey’s Bay Holiday Park in Cornwall, explains: “We feel that the tourism awards are a great opportunity
to benchmark our business against best practice, with helpful feedback and scoring from both independent assessors and mystery shoppers. There is only so much we will spot ourselves, and we fi nd it very helpful to have people from outside our business take a closer look.”
If you run a holiday complex, you can find categories including Dog-Friendly Business, Boutique Accommodation or Glamping & Alternative Accommodation that might suit your business.
Entry opens each April and is straightforward, with all details, entry forms and guidance notes included in our tourism awards websites.
For more details, visit: