Help & Support
We have listed below some of the most frequently asked questions. However, if you don’t find the information you need here and you require any assistance with your application or would simply like more information regarding the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence, please submit your enquiry using the form below:
What are the main criteria for each award category?
Hotel of the Year:
Full service hotel. No minimum number of rooms, but if less than ten rooms, likely to be more suitable for the ‘Boutique’ category. See application form for range of services applicants should provide.
Boutique/Guest Accommodation of the Year:
This is a broad category for all types of serviced accommodation except
full service hotels and B&Bs, which have their own category. No minimum or maximum number of bedrooms. May or may not offer dinner or be licensed. This category will also suit the larger ‘limited service’ hotels that may not have a restaurant, offer room service and may not have a bar.
B&B of the Year:
This category is aimed at owners who have adapted their own home to welcome B&B guests. It should still have the feel of a private home. Most likely to be run by the owners without any additional staff. Max 6 bedrooms and owners must live on-site. Must offer breakfast.
Self Catering Property of the Year:
One property only, in any one location (could be marketed via an agency). If applicant had more than one unit on site, then the Self Catering Holiday Provider of the Year would be the appropriate category.
Self Catering Holiday Provider of the Year:
(two or more properties at one location)
Holiday Park of the Year:
Operators of Holiday Parks with static vans, touring pitches and tent pitches, or any combination of this style of accommodation and operators of Holiday Villages that offer room only or self catering accommodation. If all accommodation on the site is Glamping, then the Glamping Provider of the Year would be the appropriate category.
Glamping Provider of the Year:
(where this is the main operation, not an add-on to a more traditional campsite or holiday park)
Small Visitor Attraction of the Year:
(under 75,000 visitors and/or fewer than 10 full-time equivalent paid staff)
Large Visitor Attraction of the Year:
(over 75,000 visitors a year)
N.B. Attractions can make own choice of category if fit into both categories. Must also meet VE’s definition of a visitor attraction.
Guided Tour of the Year:
Could be paid/volunteer guides in an attraction, bus tour guides, boat trip guides etc. Judge must be able to test the guided tour between mid Oct 2016 and end Feb 2017 – i.e. open to the public and not a private tour.
Dog Friendly Business of the Year:
Not just accommodation – any tourism business
Tourism Pub of the Year:
Any pub in England that makes a significant contribution to tourism in their area. This can be a pub with or without accommodation. The accommodation is not part of the judging for this award.
Any food service business that offers excellence and innovation within the tourism industry. For example: Restaurants, Hotel Restaurants, Cafes, Street Food etc.
Tourism businesses that can illustrate their excellence and commitment to sustainability best practice.
(new title for Access for All): 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 accommodation providers, visitor attractions, restaurant/cafes, tourist information providers and other types of businesses that are part of the visitor economy. (Retail outlets are not eligible).
Any business that offers a high quality experience to the business visitor and/or generates tourism through staging high quality business events (meetings, incentives, conferences, exhibitions).
Does my application have to be completed electronically or are hard copies acceptable?
All applications and supporting information must be submitted electronically. These are awards for excellence and we believe all entrants should be able to submit their entries in this way. Hard copy submissions will not be considered. However, if you are experiencing difficulties please use the email and helpline contact points below.
How long does it take to complete each application?
We estimate that it should take around a couple of hours to complete each application, but this can obviously vary according to how easily accessible the information is available to you and how comprehensive you wish to make your application. However, you do not need to complete the application in one go. You will be asked to choose your own user name and password and can re-enter as often as you like to change, update or add to your application. Only when you are entirely satisfied will you press ‘Submit’. This must be before 5pm on Friday 30th September for the Family-friendly category, 5pm on Tuesday 4th October, 2016 for the China Welcome category and 5pm on Friday 14th October, 2016 for all other categories.
Should I send other supplementary information as well as my completed application form?
If there is any other information (not available online) that you would like to include to illustrate points made in your application, for example, regional or national press coverage, please create and upload a single document in Word or PDF format. Please name this document using your business name and the wording Supplementary Evidence. If more than one document is sent, it will not be made available to the judges (this does not include your regional judging report). Please ensure each piece of evidence in your Supplementary Evidence document is indexed to the relevant question.
What happens when you receive my application?
The closing date for receipt of applications is listed above. Finalists will be notified in early March, 2017.
Is the information I send to you kept private and confidential?
Yes. Only the organisers, judges and judging panel will have access to your application form and any supporting documentation. However, you should be aware that if you become a finalist, the judges’ comments about the quality of your business may be used as part of the script at any Awards presentation.
How is the judging carried out?
The first stage of judging will be based on your written application. This stage will also take into account online reviews and regional judging reports where relevant. Depending on the category being assessed, the judges will consider:
· Content of your application form, especially evidence to demonstrate commitment to customer service and satisfaction and business success
· VisitEngland assessment recent reports if in VisitEngland’s quality scheme
· Judging report if you are a finalist from regional award – don’t forget to attach this with your application if you have a regional report
· Online reviews where available and a review of the applicant's own website and any other online marketing that can be found
A shortlist of entrants will then be selected following the first stage of judging. The shortlisted applicants will then be mystery shopped in person by one of our assessment team as well as/or by telephone or email in the second stage of the judging process. For the first time, self catering properties will be mystery shopped, as other categories. As a condition of entry to the VisitEngland Awards, applicants must agree to reimburse on departure the cost of the judge’s and his/her partner’s accommodation, meals (excluding alcoholic drinks) or admission/ticket cost as appropriate to the category. You will be notified when they leave or check out and they will provide identification to substantiate their role on behalf of VisitEngland.
Your business must be open at some point between Monday 17th
October 2016 and Friday 24th
February 2017, so the judges can visit/make a booking. If you are closed for any part of this period, please ensure this is highlighted on your application form. Even if your business is closed for the entire period, if you are able to receive a visit from a judge you may still be able to enter.
Following the second stage of judging, the most highly rated entrants from the shortlist will be confirmed as finalists with an award recommendation. The recommendations for all finalists will then be scrutinised by VisitEngland’s top panel of national judges and the final level of award will be determined.
When are the winners announced?
There will be no advance notification of the winners as these will be announced at the Awards Ceremony. However, the finalists will be published once decided by the national judges.
Can I get some feedback from the judges about my application?
The volume of applications makes it difficult for the assessment team to provide feedback for every applicant. However, the judges recognise that feedback can make a great difference to how you run your business by highlighting strengths and weaknesses and areas for improvement. Therefore, all finalists will receive feedback on their applications. If not a finalist, only general feedback will be available after the Awards presentation. The high volume of applications will make it impossible for judges to engage in any individual discussions with applicants.