If you run an excellent tourism business you stand a chance of winning an award, whatever the size or scale. These hints and tips are designed to make the entry process as painless and productive as possible. They also explain the entry requirements and what the judges will be looking for.
Entry is open to members and non-members of Tourism South East. All entries are charged at £60 plus VAT per entry, however the first three entries submitted for any Tourism South East member are free of charge as a benefit of their membership. Members of VisitKent are eligible for one free entry, all others are charged at £60 plus VAT per entry. Businesses are encouraged to enter as many categories as they are eligible for. Invoices will be sent on receipt of the completed entry form, processing of an entry will not begin until payment has been received. Entries in the Unsung Hero category are free for members and non-members.
To enter your business must offer visitor experiences, events etc in the Tourism South East area which covers Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Hampshire, Surrey, the Isle of Wight, Sussex and Kent. If your experience or business is located in another area, details of others schemes can be found on the Visit England Awards website.
Please read the criteria at the start of the entry forms carefully to ensure that you are eligible to enter.
The judges are looking for evidence of excellence, innovation and quality improvements in the last 2 years. If you entered last year then make it really clear what improvements/additions have been made since your last entry.
If you have won gold in the same category in the South East for two or more years, we’d advise considering a different category or offering to help us with judging.
- Start preparing your entry early and don’t leave things till the last minute, the deadline can not be extended.
- Read the questions and the "checklist" points (after each question) before you start to consider what you are going to include.
- Why not share drafts with colleagues/customers to get more ideas?
- Use the word count for each question and provide a full answer, do not leave any blank or give one line answers as you will not be able to score points. Marks are awarded for each question and you want to score the maximum possible.
- Shout about why you are excellent and back it up with evidence. In your final online submission you will not be able to exceed the word limit.
- VisitEngland has a range of business advice should you need any assistance regarding sustainability or access.
- Tell the judges why you are different, unique and be passionate about your commitment to excellence.
- Provide evidence of success for each question including weblinks that relate to each answer.
- Answer factually and honestly. If you are mystery shopped, your claims will be checked.
- Feedback and quotes from visitors make strong evidence. Tourism is a people business and judges are looking for evidence that you have made a difference to someone’s visit.
- Presentation matters. Make it easy to read, use simple English and avoid jargon.
- Do a spell check and proof read – and if possible get someone else to read through your entry to check anything you may have missed.
- Make your entry stand out by focusing on what is unusual or innovative, don’t be modest, this is your chance to shine.
- Check every page and link to your website(s) and social media - judges will be looking here too.
If you need help please email the Awards team email@example.com.
- Week 1 – Read category descriptions, hints and tips and check eligibility. Liaise with colleagues and shortlist those you are keen to enter. Consider signing up for a workshop to help with your entry, more info here.
- Week 2 – Register online, start to gather facts, figures and evidence. Decide on categories to enter.
- Week 3 – Start completing entries, saving them as you go. Share drafts with colleagues.
- Week 4 – Finalise entries taking into account comments from colleagues. Proof everything and start submitting.
- Week 5 – Reconsider any other categories you might like to enter.
- Week 6 – Make sure everything is complete, checked and submitted before the deadline.
Prepare supporting evidence, optional
In all entries it is possible to include links to websites illustrating your responses or to cloud files containing relevant evidence. You will not be penalised if you have not included supplementary evidence. Any written answers that are included within the supplementary evidence attempting to circumvent the question word counts will be disregarded.