Why awards matter!
Take a Break – Awards
Across Australia it's tourism award time again as regions in every state and territory start their search for the best of the best. It's a great opportunity for recognition from peers, your local community and potential guests but you'd be amazed at the number of small accommodation providers who think that awards success is only for larger businesses. In this article I'd like to bust a few of the myths around awards and talk about how entering awards can be great for your business!
Myth number one – "My business is too small to win"
Every regional tourism body understands that boutique accommodation is vital to increase capacity in an area and improve the overall mix of accommodation available; so they include categories such as hosted or unique accommodation which are ideal for small operators. You don't have to have a huge turnover as judges understand that many B&Bs are lifestyle businesses. As long as you can demonstrate excellence in the way you run your business it doesn't matter whether you have a turnover of $25,000 or $250,000.
Myth number two – "I don't stand a chance"
You will never know unless you give it a go. Some of the best entries come from enthusiastic operators who take an innovative approach to developing their "product". This can range from environmental sustainability to property improvements which will appeal to a specific target market. You don't have to go it alone, all of the State awards and many of the regional awards hold information sessions, run workshops or offer advice on how to fill out your submission.
Myth number three – "Awards only go to older, established businesses"
Not true! Many awards include a "new development" category specifically to recognise new operators in the marketplace. Being new can also be an advantage in other categories as you can talk about improvements you've made to the property, new markets you have targeted or even new marketing methods you have developed. Sometimes in more established businesses it is harder to demonstrate innovation because it has all been done before.
So don't be put off by the awards myths. There are real benefits for you and your business.
Entering awards is a great way of increasing your profile in the tourism community because it's usually the most progressive, innovative operators who tend to put in the time and effort to enter awards.
Smart operators also know that regardless of whether they win or lose the very process of filling out an award submission can bring big business rewards. Many regular participants use the awards submission process as their annual business planning exercise. The hours spent identifying target markets, analysing revenue and detailing all the innovations introduced in the last twelve month can be a real eye opener. The submission process can also help identify lucrative new markets, give you bright ideas for new services or point out where the business is underperforming.
Of course there are also the spoils that come with winning
- Many State and regional awards come with prizes which can range from free advertising to trips and trophies or certificates. Winner's certificates or trophies can be proudly displayed in your foyer or breakfast room for guests to admire and winner's logos should take pride of place on the home page of your website to let everyone know they are booking with a winning operator.
- This is great for your ego and good for business. You will find that the local community will be keen to recognise your achievements and a trip to town can take twice as long as usual as you soak up the congratulations. It also means when a local wants to recommend accommodation you will be front of mind. Local papers are often keen to promote your success with an article and make sure you let the local Tourism organisation and Visitor Information Centre share in your success.
- You will also find that you will receive recognition and support from your local tourism industry. This can range from inclusion on high profile "famil" lists so you can host visiting journalists, to being asked to provide information to be included in promotional material for your area.
- The biggest benefit from award wins is the resulting publicity which will come from different publications and websites who want to feature a winner in their upcoming editions or newsletters. Make sure you have a number of press releases ready so you can capitalise on every opportunity.
- Improved staff morale
- Being a part of a winning business is a great boost for your hard working staff or contractors. You will find they are almost more excited about your win than you are so make sure you include them in some of the celebrations.
- Proud guests
- For all those guests that have stayed with you and loved your property a win is confirmation that they have great taste and they "discovered" you before anyone else. A win can be a great way to build loyalty with your past visitors and boost your business referrals. A win is also a great excuse to reward your guests with a special promotion.
So, as you can see, the benefits outweigh the myths when it comes to entering awards.
Author: Linda Hailey, Business Growth Expert. For more information go to www.lindahailey.com.au
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