Tips from Past Winners

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

Corinium Museum
Corinium Museum

coriniummuseum.org

Small Attraction of the Year, Bronze, South West Tourism Awards  2017/18

 

WHY DID YOU ENTER THE AWARDS?

We enter the awards because we feel that the museum has so much to offer visitors. We achieve a lot for a small site and small team and we continue to strive for excellence. There are clear marketing benefits behind winning awards but by being judged independently, we find that our offer and provision is endorsed by an external third party. In this way, we are not just saying visit the museum because it’s a wonderful attraction, a moderator is also saying this on our behalf. We want other museums across the southwest to feel that their sites are just as worthy of winning awards, as are other historic attractions, as we have an important story to tell about the history of the south west. We hope that by entering the awards, we are setting a positive example in the museum field and meeting the high standards expected by the visiting public.

HOW YOU FOUND THE PROCESS?

The application form, though it may look daunting initially, is word limited so the challenge is really to communicate your successes in a few paragraphs. Sourcing the evidence is actually quite enjoyable as it allows the team to reflect on the provision offered over the previous year. Pulling this together provides a lasting testimony to sites about their achievements. The process also encourages sites to manage data collection in a consistent way. It encourages you to pay more attention to collecting quotes from visitors and ensure events and activities are appropriately documented with photographs and evaluation forms. The South West Tourism Excellence Awards team are in regular communication with applicants ensuring nothing is missed and this helps with ensuring deadline are met, whilst making for a friendly process overall.

THE REWARDS 

Receiving an award provides testimony to the excellent service the museum is providing. By keeping awards up to date and current, it demonstrates that the Corinium Museum is continually meeting the latest criteria for excellence. Staff are encouraged that the work they are doing is duly recognised and this is important to ensure continued motivation. Visitors can see, at a glance, that the site they are entering is award winning, raising expectations and reassuring visitors that they are guaranteed a positive and enjoyable visitor experience. A regional award is special to a site as it provides an accolade of quality that lies outside local recognitions, thus attracting visitors from further afield. Our South West Tourism Excellence Award complements and reinforces our VAQAS quality mark and we use logos to celebrate excellence from both schemes hand in hand

Don’t just jump in with an application for the sake of it. Take time to plan over the previous year to ensure you have assembled all of the data associated with your successes. Celebrate your successful events and local awards and draw upon visitor feedback to ensure you have people shouting for you, rather than merely promoting the site yourself. Get all staff on board and make the process a fun one so that each department or area of service is represented. Use feedback from the awards process to inform your future planning, development and evaluation. If you don’t ‘win’ through your first application… try again. The South West Tourism Excellence Awards gives your business a quality mark and recognition that is instantly recognisable and is a high quality accolade, so it is worth putting forward an application if you feel your organisation should be recognised regionally.

Southview Lodges
Southview Lodges

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. 

Screech Owl Sanctuary
Screech Owl Sanctuary

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

Why did you enter the awards?

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.

How did you find the process?

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. 

The Rewards

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. 

Top tips to other businesses...

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
Trethem Mill Touring Park

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

Why did you enter the awards?

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.

How did you find the process?

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.

The Rewards

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!

Top tips to other businesses...

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!