Judging is carried out by an independent panel of past winners, industry leaders and experts in their field, selected for their impartiality, experience and suitability for each category.
The initial (round 1) judging will be based on the information provided on your entry form along with your online presence and reviews. Judges will also be looking for evidence of your commitment to accessible and inclusive tourism and ethical, responsible and sustainable tourism in addition to COVID-19 customer reassurance.
Judges will also be looking at how your website and social media encourage visitors to come to the area in the first place, how they are inspired to choose your business, the information you provide and how it is viewed on different media (tablets, smartphones etc).
There are four questions on the entry forms to answer:
- Your top qualities
- Your recent improvements
- Your results
- Your future plans
Each will be scored, based on your answers; if a question is left blank you will not receive a score.
Selected businesses may be visited (mystery shopped where possible) by independent mystery shoppers. Please note that it is a requirement of entry that entrants agree to waive or refund the direct costs of a mystery visit should a mystery visit be arranged. The mystery visitor will present you with a letter of authorisation stating this after their visit, please advise your staff that this may happen to avoid confusion. Receipt of your entry is taken as agreement to this requirement.
The decision on which entries receive awards will be taken by a judging panel which will consider mystery shop reports, websites and other available evidence. Their decision will be based on the evidence available at the time and will be final. The timing of the process means there can be no appeal process for the current year’s awards. Should any entrant consider that inaccurate evidence has been considered as part of the judging they should raise this with the awards coordinator at the earliest possible stage; such appeals may be taken into account in judging for the subsequent year.
All entrants will receive summary feedback.
The winners, normally a combination of Gold, Silver and Bronze awards per category, will be announced at the awards ceremony.
Eligible winners will be 'fast-tracked' into corresponding categories of the South West Tourism Excellence Awards and from these may be selected to represent the area in the national VisitEngland Awards.