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Which Categories?

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

If you have won Gold in a category for the last two years you are not eligible to enter the same one again this year.  Please note that some of the Beautiful South Awards are not being run by VisitEngland, as such the winners in these awards will not qualify to go through to the national awards.

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 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 a maximum of six guest bedrooms; 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.

Customer Service Superstar Award Individuals 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.

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 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. 

NEW CATEGORY 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 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.

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 Holiday Business of the Year Self-catering accommodation, serviced apartments, narrow boats or cruisers 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.

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 CRITERIA Small Hotel/Boutique Accommodation 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.

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.

Touring Camping, Caravanning and Holiday Park of the Year This category is for caravan, camping, touring and holiday parks and villages that can demonstrate exceptional customer service and offer an outstanding experience for visitors.  If your main accommodation offer is Glamping you should enter the Glamping 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 Experience of the Year Businesses that can demonstrate that they have gone the extra mile to deliver an outstanding and innovative customer experience to customers.  The category suits experiences not covered by other categories such as activity providers, cookery schools, race days, art courses.  If you run guided tours please enter this separate new category.

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.  To enter this award your business must offer visitors an exceptional standard of service.