Preparing a tourism awards submission is an opportunity to evaluate the business across all areas of operations; product, marketing, customer service, business planning and sustainability. The process will make it clear what you are doing & how well you are doing it.
It also identifies gaps in your business – those things that you should be doing but aren’t or areas where there is room for innovation and improvement.
Whether you are writing a submission for the first time or a seasoned contender, preparing your submission is a big deal. It can be overwhelming to begin with but some planning and preparation now, will make finalizing your submission a lot easier when the time comes.
Here are my top tips to help you start the process
1. Start early!
Nominations for most state and territory tourism awards programs are now open, with submissions due in July or August (depending on the program). Don’t leave it to the last minute.
Nominate now, download the questions and start planning your entry.
You’ll find all the details for your state at their tourism awards website:
2. Read the questions
Sounds obvious, but most questions have a number of parts; you’ll want to make sure that you cover all parts of the questions. Read the questions and think about how you will answer each.
If you can’t answer a question now –don’t worry, if you’ve followed step 1 and started early, you still have time to implement new activities in your business during the qualifying period ( 1 July 17 – 30 June 18)!
3. Read the Rules
It is a competition, so there needs to be rules!
Again, it sounds obvious, but you need to make sure you read them. They change every year, so read them, read them & read them again!
With submissions now uploaded directly to the online portal, thankfully formatting rules (& penalty points are a thing of the past!)
4. Plan, Plan, Plan
You know what they say, “Failing to plan is planning to fail”. An awards submission is a big job and there is a deadline. Get a plan in place, set timeframes and allocate tasks – don’t forget to allow time for proof reading.
Stick to your plan & you’ll have your feet up enjoying a celebratory drink while others a panicking about the deadline on submission day
5. Have a leader
Every great team needs a Captain. Decide who is going to be responsible for your submission it might be you or someone else in the organisation.
The leader will set the deadlines and allocate task, and also be responsible for ensuring that the document is written in a consistent style.
Your whole team will be involved in the process but you need one person to be steering the ship.
Get the team together and talk through all the questions. Once you start talking about what you are working towards and what you have achieved, lots of other ideas will come up (trust me!).
Everyone brings a different perspective, others will remember things that you might have forgotten about or that you see as a normal part of your day-to-day business, which are actually quite innovative.
Working together as a team will ensure that you tell the whole story of the business!
7. Put processes in place
There is a lot of information that you need to collect to go into your tourism award entry. Putting systems in place now to capture this information will make it a lot easier when it comes to preparing your submission.
Create files to track details such as; famils that you host, press coverage you receive, great feedback, complaints you have actioned, sponsorship for local community organisations…
8. Make it a part of your business
While the trophy on the shelf and the industry recognition is nice, at the end of the day the main benefit of the awards process should be to your bottom line!
Align the process to your business planning. This will not only ensure that you have all the relevant documentation in place for the awards – business plans, marketing plans, risk management plans, it will also force you to make sure that everything is strategically aligned, monitored and focused on growing your business.
9. Have fun
It’s not a university assignment, you are telling the story of your business and it’s successes for the year.
Celebrate what you have achieved as you go through the process (it is probably a lot more than you think) and what you have learned from things that didn’t work.
Inject some passion & personality into the submission; make it fun for the judges to read (they will thank you for it!)
10. Get support
Each state offers a range of different tourism award workshops and mentoring programs, check them out and use them – they are a great source of information. Speak to past entrants, talk to your local tourism organisation or engage a consultant to give you feedback and support.
There is lots of help out there, use it!