Our first attempt at tourism awards, back in 2021 was very much a learning experience. I was happy with my submission, and excited that it made it to finalist status. We didn’t get a prize, and the process and rewards (not many) left me feeling really uninspired.

One thing it did do though, was assist in forming a really good relationship with our local council. It opened communication channels and I believe it made us ‘more visible’. The other benefit of the award process, is that if forces you to keep better track of numbers of bookings, take note of target markets and consider how much economic benefit your business is creating for the local area. 

It is so much work, and a really frustrating process, as some of the questions and processes just don’t seem logical. 

In 2022, we went one step better, not only making it to finalist, but receiving silver in our category! This was a huge thrill, thinking about the benefit this award would have for our marketing. The interesting, and somewhat frustrating thing however, is it seems to have achieved nothing. We didn’t even get a trophy, although we could purchase one if we wanted. 

Now I’m faced with the question of whether to try again this year. We have done a huge amount of good things this year. New carriages, new experiences. I actually don’t know where we sit numbers wise as a comparison, but we certainly seem busier. 

However we have also made some ‘backwards steps’ in the eyes of improvement, which is one thing that the awards submission is judged on. Due to the amount of work we are facing with dads estate, we’ve pulled our brochures from the brochure racks. I’ve also pulled the online booking system from our website, as it was clunky, hard to use and actually creating more work. We are still actively accepting bookings, just not wanting to spent as much money in advertising, and hoping to have a few more weekends available to help the family. 

Is it worth investing the time and effort into formulating an award submission? I like writing, it’s nice to have something to write about. I think it is a good thing, being forced to view the numbers and look back on decisions, processes and results for the previous year. 

I do find it incredibly frustrating that even as a silver medalist, it hasn’t resulted in any promotion, or even mention from TICSA. 

The other thing playing on my mind, is the gold medalist from last year. If a business wins gold 3 years running, they go into ‘hall of fame’. Now the business who won gold in my category last year is AMAZING! It is highly likely they will enter again, and take gold again. Therefore if I enter, realistically I am aiming for silver again, which last year, didn’t really seem to achieve me a great deal. 

Are there enough benefit to doing it, knowing that it’s unlikely that I’ll even do as well as I did last year? 

If I don’t enter this year, all of the cool things that I have done during this qualifying period will effectively ‘go to waste’- in award terms, not in the bigger picture, but would the time, effort and money be better spent in other areas. 

This is just another example of why I need a crystal ball. What are your thoughts? Should we enter?? 

4 Responses

  1. Having had a background in tourism. There are now more ways with technology to promote yourself. The awards are good may get yourself some promotional changes but clients now look for some many other ways to know if a business is “good” which is at the heat of the awards. Customer comments on websites, feedback on travel websites etc etc. Do what feels right for you, money which people pour into the submissions also plays a heavy part as well. Go with what you gut is telling you and you also know your clients best. How do they find out about you, book etc. and work more on that I think?

  2. Short answer – no
    I personally don’t think tourism awards are beneficial for the small operators. I think the fact you won silver in a previous year is proof you are a great operator and will serve you well in the future. I also think the time and effort on your business could be better spent in other areas of life, personal or business. International tourism might be the only benefit of awards and I can’t see that being your core business here in Strathalbyn. Focus on what you do well, focus on the gains from your first application and keep the communication open with council but doing paperwork for the awards isn’t value for money in my book.

  3. As long as your business is growing it sounds like the effort involved in entering is not worth the reward should you win gold or silver 🏆
    With the extra family commitments, Brian, new carriage etc it sounds like you have/had your hands full so maybe spending time on consolidating the business rather than the award seems the way to go?

  4. Imo it’s best to spend time and energy on the things that reward you in $$$’s Rewards are lovely to receive but I don’t feel they bring much in the way of money for the workload .
    Consolidate what you have 🙂

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