2020 Categories

Accommodation

Entries are invited from accommodation providers who are members of Tourism NI’s Quality Assurance Scheme or an affiliate programme.

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Experience

Entries are invited from Tourist Experiences across Northern Ireland such as Visitor Attractions, Tours, Food and Drink providers and Event Management businesses to name but a few

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Business

Entries are welcomed from passionate Tourism and Hospitality Business owners / proprietors and innovative Digital Marketing enthusiasts.

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Accommodation Categories

Questions to answer in these categories are as follows:

  • Q1 – “In no more than 500 words, tell us why your property is the best accommodation in Northern Ireland”
  • Q2 – “In no more than 500 words, tell us how you maintain high standards of accommodation and customer service”
  • Q3  – “In no more than 500 words, tell us what you are doing to attract visitors to Northern Ireland and the local area”

Best Hotel

Description:

Entries are invited from Hotel accommodation providers who are members of Tourism NI’s Quality Assurance Scheme or an affiliate programme.  Applicants must have been trading for at least one year at the time of application.

Entrants must be able to demonstrate:

  • Why your property is the best in its category.
  • How you maintain high standards of accommodation and customer service.
  • What you are doing to attract visitors to Northern Ireland and your local area.  

These categories will be judged in Stage Two by Mystery Shop.

Best Guest House

Description:

Entries are invited from Guest House accommodation providers who are members of Tourism NI’s Quality Assurance Scheme or an affiliate programme.  Applicants must have been trading for at least one year at the time of application.

Entrants must be able to demonstrate:

  • Why your property is the best in its category.
  • How you maintain high standards of accommodation and customer service.
  • What you are doing to attract visitors to Northern Ireland and your local area.  

These categories will be judged in Stage Two by Mystery Shop.

Best Bed & Breakfast

Description:

Entries are invited from Bed & Breakfast accommodation providers who are members of Tourism NI’s Quality Assurance Scheme or an affiliate programme.  Applicants must have been trading for at least one year at the time of application.

Entrants must be able to demonstrate:

  • Why your property is the best in its category.
  • How you maintain high standards of accommodation and customer service.
  • What you are doing to attract visitors to Northern Ireland and your local area.  

These categories will be judged in Stage Two by Mystery Shop.

Best Self Catering

Description:

Entries are invited from Self Catering accommodation providers who are members of Tourism NI’s Quality Assurance Scheme or an affiliate programme.  Applicants must have been trading for at least one year at the time of application.

Entrants must be able to demonstrate:

  • Why your property is the best in its category.
  • How you maintain high standards of accommodation and customer service.
  • What you are doing to attract visitors to Northern Ireland and your local area.  

These categories will be judged in Stage Two by Mystery Shop.

Experience Categories

Questions to answer in these categories are as follows:

Q1  – “In no more than 800 words, tell us why you believe your business/project merits this award, bearing in mind the category criteria and what your business/project has achieved to meet the criteria”.
Q2  – “In no more than 500 words, please provide details / evidence of the positive impact and outputs your business or project delivered”

NB: You must also prepare a brief outline about your project/business (no more than 250 words) to submit in the entry form. This is not scored.

Best Event or Festival Experience – International

Entries are invited from NI international events and festivals (in private, voluntary or public sectors) who can demonstrate significant tourism impact including successfully attracting visitors to, and entertaining them in, Northern Ireland.

Entrants must demonstrate how they have met the following criteria:

  • Enhanced visitor experience.
  • Increase in visitor numbers and spend.
  • Development of a positive profile for NI.
  • Increased bed nights.
  • Extended the tourism season.

This category will be judged in Stage Two by Presentation.

Best Event or Festival Experience - National

Entries are invited from NI national events and festivals (in private, voluntary or public sectors). Judges will be looking for the most promising authentic events and festivals within this category.

Entrants much be able to demonstrate the following:

  • Enhance the visitor experience.
  • Generate economic benefits for Northern Ireland through increased visitor numbers and spend.
  • Enhance the appeal and profile of the area

This category will be judged in Stage Two by Presentation.

Best Food & Drink Experience

Entries are invited from tourism and hospitality business, including experience providers, which offer an authentic NI food and drink experience that is rooted in the local area.

The Best Food and Drink Experience should demonstrate:

  • How you have incorporated local food and drink with a focus on authenticity, a sense of place and sustainability. 
  • How you have encouraged regional spread and/or seasonal extension. 
  • If the experience was created or enhanced to support the Taste the Island initiative.   If so, please provide details in the submission response.  
  • International appeal.

This category will be judged in Stage Two by Presentation.

Best Authentic Experience – Site Based

We know that our visitors want to engage with the authenticity of Northern Ireland and its people and get a deeper connection with place. Right across Northern Ireland our industry is creating multiple opportunities for our visitors to engage with our people and our land through authentic experiences found only here and which deliver standout for Northern Ireland.

Entries are invited from tourism providers who deliver high quality visitor experiences that are distinctively Northern Irish. Who bring our people and place to life to create lasting memories, and encourage our visitors to return, explore more and recommend Northern Ireland to friends and family.

Entries must demonstrate how:

  • The experience is authentically local, provides visitors with a real sense of place and creates memories and associations which are specific to Northern Ireland.
  • The experience is immersive, providing visitors with the opportunity to engage with our landscapes heritage and culture.
  • The experience focuses on the needs of the visitor providing a quality end to end experience.
  • The experience has international appeal and is saleable, sustainable and repeatable.

This category will be judged in Stage Two by Presentation.

Best Authentic Experience – Tour, Trail or Immersive

We know that our visitors want to engage with the authenticity of Northern Ireland and its people and get a deeper connection with place. Right across Northern Ireland our industry is creating multiple opportunities for our visitors to engage with our people and our land through authentic experiences found only here and which deliver standout for Northern Ireland.

Entries are invited from tourism providers who deliver high quality visitor experiences that are distinctively Northern Irish. Who bring our people and place to life to create lasting memories, and encourage our visitors to return, explore more and recommend Northern Ireland to friends and family.

Entries must demonstrate how:

  • The experience is authentically local, provides visitors with a real sense of place and creates memories and associations which are specific to Northern Ireland.
  • The experience is immersive, providing visitors with the opportunity to engage with our landscapes heritage and culture.
  • The experience focuses on the needs of the visitor providing a quality end to end experience.
  • The experience has international appeal and is saleable, sustainable and repeatable.

This category will be judged in Stage Two by Presentation.

Business Categories

Questions to answer in these categories are as follows:

Q1  – “In no more than 800 words, tell us why you believe your business/project/individual merits this award, bearing in mind the category criteria and what your business/project/individual has achieved to meet the criteria”.
Q2  – “In no more than 500 words, please provide details / evidence of the positive impact and outputs your business or project delivered”

NB: You must also prepare a brief outline about your project/business (no more than 250 words) to submit in the entry form. This is not scored.

Excellence in International Marketing and Sales

Entries are invited from tourism businesses that can demonstrate active engagement in international markets.

Entrants must be able to provide evidence of:

  • Working collaboratively, planning for growth and actively engaging with international bodies and tour operators
  • Representing the Northern Ireland experience in international markets

This category will be judged in Stage Two by Presentation.

Tourism Entrepreneur of the Year

Entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.  They identify a customer problem and find a solution to it. In so doing they are willing to accept risk. These action-oriented people operate with vision, passion, optimism and focus. They have tenacity and are resourceful independent-thinking problem solvers.

The individual should demonstrate:

  • A passion for tourism, show ambition and inspire others.
  • Exceptional contribution to tourism through business innovation and delivery of quality service and products, whilst driving a profit making business.
  • Making an impact aligned to driving exceptional visitor experiences and attracting visitors to NI.
  • Action, thriving on opportunities.
  • A growth mind-set and a willingness to be challenged.
  • Strong work ethic and leadership.

This category will be judged in Stage Two by Presentation.

Best Digital Marketing Campaign

This award recognises tourism businesses that have successfully employed digital marketing techniques in order to achieve business objectives.

Entrants must be able to demonstrate and describe:

  • The objective of the campaign.
  • The approach taken.
  • The impact on delivery of business objectives.

This category will be judged in Stage Two by Presentation.