Travel awash with awards


BANGKOK, 15 January 2016: Famed English Actor, Maureen Lipman, remarked that awards in the acting profession were “Prizes a bit like Piles – every bum gets one sooner or later”.

It applies equally to the travel industry. Everybody likes to win, or be associated with winning a professional award at some time in their career.

Be it personal, company or product related, it can be a career’s defining moment and if nothing else it looks good on the CV. 

inside no 1Thankfully travel awards appear to have moved on from the tacky, engineered Wine Awards  of some years ago, but many questions still remain about credibility and value.

What are awards in the hospitality and tourism industries actually given for? How are the categories decided? What is the criteria for success? Who are the decision makers and just how qualified are they to judge or give the award anyway?

If it is a media driven award – and many of them are – to what extent are the award organisers influenced by past, present, or even anticipated future advertising spend when deciding the winners?

Is that one of the major issues that undermines credibility?  That the majority of awards seem to be made by media, who may have a vested interest in cozying up to their best clients or future prospects?

Everyone seems to have the chance to win an award of some type in the tourism and hospitality industries, and bearing in mind the high levels of commitment required to “make a difference” in these industries that may not be entirely a bad thing.

If it is a media driven award the question still remains regarding the commercial relationship between the award giver and recipient. There are also  awards where the nominee’s chances of winning may be enhanced by advertising once they have been told that they are under consideration.  Who can say how much that may assist them in gaining the winning edge.

But how valid is it to advertise that your organisation has been nominated for an award that you have little hope of winning when it may well have been you, or someone within your organisation who instigated the nomination in the first place?

Should ‘awards” that require an entry fee or some other form of payment simply be discounted and not be regarded as “awards” at all?  Some award organisers send notifications to the winning companies,  reminding them to pay a registration fee to attend the award presentations.

How confusing it must be for any non industry person to judge or understand the value, or even validity, of so many tourism and hospitality industry awards and to employ them appropriately in the decision-making and purchasing processes.

Perhaps the industry needs a governing body that evaluates and “polices” awards so that there is some type of official “seal of approval”?

Or perhaps some “awards” need to reclassified for what they probably really are – ”Thank You” offerings from grateful business partners or simply a clever way to boost revenue in the time of need?