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Tips from Past Entrants

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

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


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.


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 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.


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. 


Screech Owl Sanctuary   - www.screechowlsanctuary.co.uk 


  • Small Attraction, Gold, South West Tourism Excellence Awards 2016/17
  • Access & Inclusivity, Bronze, Cornwall Tourism Awards 2016/17
  • Small Attraction, Gold Cornwall Tourism Awards 2016/17 


We were encouraged to apply for the awards last year due to our positive feedback and reviews on TripAdvisor and social media sites. We had no idea if we would even be selected or could even achieve an award but thought that we had nothing to lose and would give it a try. Being a small group of people running quite a busy organisation we frequently get caught up in the daily activities and neglect to promote what we do well and the unique service we provide for our visitors.


Last year the application form initially appeared quite daunting, but after doing a brain storm on the information and facts required I managed to work through the questions in a methodical way. It is worth taking your time and evaluate all the questions very carefully and this also helps you focus on areas of the business that could be improved and prompted us to make several enhancements to our website during the process which could be used to cross reference some of the questions. 


It is great to be recognised by the tourism industry and helps to make all the dedication and hard work of our organisation worthwhile and gives our staff a big morale boost. Our visitors also like to monitor our progress on social media and it gives us a much better profile winning these awards. The judge's feedback is extremely helpful and we have used this to focus on many future improvements. 


Do take your time to read the application form carefully and understand the questions being asked in each section, only providing relevant supporting evidence. The judges must have a very difficult time sifting through so many application forms so make sure you cross reference relevant points of interest and your website is a good place to do this. If your business has any particular strengths that you are proud of this is a good opportunity to show them off. It is a great opportunity to use feedback from judges both positive and negative to improve your facilities and services in future.

Trethem Mill Touring Park - www.trethem.com


  • Holiday Park /Holiday Village, Gold, VisitEngland Awards for Excellence 2017
  • Camping & Caravanning Park, Gold, Southwest Tourism Awards 2017
  • Camping & Caravanning Park, Gold, Cornwall Tourism Awards 2016/17


Trethem Mill Touring Park is a multi award winning 5-star Gold Park on the Roseland Peninsula in Cornwall. We are a small family owned and run business and we often wonder how we compare and how we can compete with the larger parks. By entering the awards it makes us find the time to sit down and really think about how our business is run, the service we are offering and if we are still heading in the right direction. It can also serve to highlight and uncover any areas that may need addressing or improving which may have previously gone unnoticed.


The application form can take some time and can be a little daunting when you first look at the questions. It is really designed to examine all aspects of your business and will often get you thinking and looking at things from an angle that you may never have considered before. Sometimes the questions can appear to overlap each other so you need to think about exactly what the judges are looking for. It can sometimes be hard to show examples of what your business is achieving but with some thought you’ll be surprised at how much you are actually doing without realising it.


We have been very lucky to have such a successful year having won Gold with the Cornwall, Southwest and National awards. This success has given us the opportunity for publicity far beyond anything that we could previously access, including local radio coverage. Extensive newspaper and media coverage has also served to strengthen and extend our existing trade from customers within the South West. Winning these awards has given all the family a great sense of achievement and recognition for all our hard work and investment during the last 25 years. Our regular customers are encouraged to see that the Park is continuing to do well and they enjoy following our progress and success. Potential new customers are attracted and encouraged to visit a Park that is obviously doing something right. Either way it’s a win-win situation!


We would urge all businesses, whatever their size, to consider entering the awards. We are proof that a small business can compete alongside the larger organisations. When filling out the application form make sure you really read the questions and go back over your answers a few times. You’ll be surprised what will come to mind when you start thinking about the answers. Make sure you stick to the word count specified and include supporting material where appropriate. Robin and his team provide an amazing network of support if you have any questions and are great at keeping you up to date with what’s happening!