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Which Categories?

Here is a short description of the awards categories for 2017; please note that there are new categories and some changes to existing ones so please do check here to make sure that you fulfil the criteria.  There may well be more than one category you are eligible to enter. 

The customer service award is slightly different in that entries can come from staff, the individual, third parties or customers.

Access and Inclusivity Award Tourism businesses that provide inclusive tourism experiences for all visitors, particularly disabled people and others with physical and sensory access needs such as older people. This may include any business whose core purpose is to operate as part of the visitor economy eg accommodation providers, visitor attractions, restaurant/cafes, tourist information providers. (Retail outlets are not eligible).

NEW Active and Sporting Experience of the Year Tourism businesses that can demonstrate that they have gone the extra mile to deliver an outstanding and innovative active and sporting experience eg surf schools, coasteering, climbing, kite surfing.  To enter this award your business must offer visitors an exceptional standard of service and a memorable experience. If you run guided tours you should enter the separate guided tour category.

NEW Artistic, Cultural and Learning Experience of the Year Tourism businesses that can demonstrate that they have gone the extra mile to deliver an outstanding and innovative artistic, cultural and learning experience eg art schools, cookery schools, wine tasting etc.  To enter this award your business must offer visitors an exceptional standard of service and a memorable experience.  If you run guided tours you should enter the separate guided tour category.

NEW CRITERIA Bed and Breakfast of the Year To enter this award your business must: offer visitors an exceptional standard of service and an outstanding, memorable experience; call yourself a B and B; have around six guest bedrooms (maximum of ten); offer an excellent breakfast; have owners or landlord living on site. 

Café/Tearoom of the Year This award is open to cafés and tearooms that provide great service and serve excellent food from local/regional suppliers.  Entrants must be committed to sourcing produce locally and communicating this to customers.  Entrants may consider this category, or the separate categories of Restaurant or Tourism Pub, but should choose the category that best matches their business and only enter in one.  Pop-up and mobile outlets can enter, though essential supporting facilities (eg toilets) will be taken into account in judging.  To enter this award your business must offer visitors an exceptional standard of service and an outstanding, memorable experience.

Dog Friendly Business of the Year This category is for any tourism business eg accommodation, attractions etc that offer the very best experience to dogs – and their human companions.

Glamping Business and Alternative Accommodation of the Year This category is for businesses where Glamping is the main accommodation offer - not an add-on to a campsite or holiday park - which can demonstrate exceptional customer service and offer an outstanding experience for visitors.  As well as the glamping sector ie Yurts, Tepees, Shepherd’s Huts, Safari Tents, Romany Caravans etc alternative accommodation should also enter this category.

NEW Guided Tour (on water or land) of the Year To enter this award your tourism businesses should be able to demonstrate that they have gone the extra mile to deliver an outstanding and innovative guided tour and must offer visitors an exceptional standard of service and a memorable tour.  The tour must be open to the public and could be led by paid staff or volunteers on land or water eg walking, river, sea, bicycle, bus tours.

NEW CRITERIA Holiday Park of the Year For holiday parks, villages and resorts, likely to have a mix of holiday homes and pitches, which may include caravan holiday homes, lodges, chalets and touring and camping pitches.  You are likely to have leisure facilities and food and drink outlets on the park and should be able to demonstrate exceptional customer service and offer an outstanding experience for visitors.  If your main accommodation offer is Glamping you should enter the Glamping and if camping/touring that category.

International Visitor Experience of the Year All sectors of the tourism industry can apply if they can demonstrate that they have gone the extra mile to promote and deliver an outstanding experience for international visitors eg visitor attractions, accommodation, guided tours, business/convention centres, language schools or activity providers.  To enter this award your business must offer international visitors an exceptional standard of service and a memorable experience. 

NEW CRITERIA Large Hotel of the Year To enter this award your business must be a large hotel, probably with more than 35 rooms, and offer visitors an exceptional standard of service and an outstanding, memorable experience. If you are a small/boutique hotel you may wish to consider this category instead. (Some hotels with fewer than 35 rooms may also enter this category if they are full service hotels with extensive facilities).

Large Visitor Attraction of the Year This category is for visitor attractions with 75,000 visitors a year or more, including those that offer pre-booked tickets, museums and galleries, churches and cathedrals, interpretation centres, theme parks, historic houses, gardens, country parks, heritage railways and castles.  To enter this award your business must offer visitors an exceptional standard of service and an outstanding, memorable experience.

NEW CRITERIA Outstanding Customer Service Award Individuals or teams working in the tourist industry that continually go above and beyond, offering exceptional customer service to visitors, should enter this award. They may be nominated by another member of staff, a member of the public, by our own mystery visitors or by themselves. They could be volunteers or paid members of staff.

Restaurant/Bistro of the Year This award is open to restaurants and bistros that provide great service and serve excellent food from local/regional suppliers.  Entrants must be committed to sourcing produce locally and communicating this to customers.  Entrants may consider this category, or the separate categories of ‘Pub’ and ‘Café/Tearoom’, but should choose the category that best matches their business and only enter in one.  To enter this award your business must offer visitors an exceptional standard of service and an outstanding, memorable experience.

NEW CRITERIA Self Catering Business of the Year Self-catering accommodation, serviced apartments and flats that are of an excellent standard and offer exceptional customer service. This award is for accommodation in the same location that may or may not be marketed by an agency.  If your main accommodation offer is Glamping you should enter this category instead.

NEW CRITERIA Small/Boutique Hotel of the Year To enter this award your business must be a small/boutique hotel, or pub or restaurant with rooms, probably with fewer than 35 rooms, and offer visitors an exceptional standard of service and an outstanding, memorable experience. If you have over 35 rooms or are a full service hotel with extensive facilities you may wish to consider the Large Hotel category instead.

Small Visitor Attraction of the Year This category is for visitor attractions with fewer than 75,000 visitors a year, including those that offer pre-booked tickets, museums and galleries, churches and cathedrals, interpretation centres, theme parks, historic houses, gardens, country parks, heritage railways and castles.  To enter this award your business must offer visitors an exceptional standard of service and an outstanding, memorable experience.

NEW Spa and Wellbeing Experience of the Year Tourism businesses that can demonstrate that they have gone the extra mile to deliver an outstanding and innovative Spa or Wellbeing Experience eg spas, health retreats, etc whether standalone or part of another business.  To enter this award your business must offer visitors an exceptional standard of service and a memorable experience. 

Sustainable Tourism Award This category is for any tourism business that is committed to becoming more sustainable.  Awards, accreditations and accolades for sustainability practices will be taken into consideration by the judges as well as the overall quality of experience provided.

NEW CRITERIA Touring Camping and Caravanning Park of the Year This category is for parks where the main provision is for touring caravans, motor homes and camping with few or no pitches occupied by caravan holiday homes or lodges. These parks should demonstrate exceptional customer service and offer an outstanding experience for visitors.   If your main accommodation offer is Glamping you should enter the new Glamping category and if a Holiday Park (mainly static caravans and chalets) then that category.

Tourism Event/Festival of the Year Events could include festivals, fairs, carnivals, shows or celebrations.  They can be paid entry or free but should demonstrate innovation, distinctiveness and should make a significant contribution to the economy of a destination eg attendance/participation figures likely to be in excess of 5000. The event could be a one off or a rolling series of annual events.  

Tourism Pub of the Year This category is for pubs that offer great locally sourced food and drink to tourists and locals, in authentic surroundings.  They should also attract a significant number of customers from out of the local area.  Entrants may consider this category, or the separate categories of ‘Restaurant/Bistro’ and ‘Café/Tearoom’, but should choose the category that best matches their business and only enter in one.  To enter this award your business must offer visitors an exceptional standard of service and an outstanding, memorable experience.

Venue and Business Tourism Award This award is open to any organisation that excels in the wedding and business tourism sector eg exhibition centres, hotels, conference, wedding and banqueting venues, convention bureaux and destination organisations.  To enter this award your business must offer visitors an exceptional standard of service and an outstanding, memorable experience.

Visitor Information Service of the Year This award is for visitor information providers that provide visitors with an excellent standard of customer service and appropriate information.  This should be done through face to face contact as well as utilising information technology and must include responding to individual enquiries.