Help & Support

We have listed below some of the most frequently asked questions. However, if you don’t find the information you need here and you require any assistance with your application or would simply like more information regarding the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence, please submit your enquiry using the form below:


What are the main criteria for each award category?
Bed & Breakfast of the Year: This category is aimed at owners who have adapted their own home to welcome B&B guests. It should still have the feel of a private home. Most likely to be run by the owners without any additional staff. Max 6 bedrooms and owners must live on-site. Must offer breakfast.

Boutique Guest Accommodation of the Year: High quality, smaller hotels and more professionally-run guest houses and B&Bs offering excellent service. Also Restaurant with Rooms and Pubs with Rooms. Likely to be licenced. May or may not offer dinner, but could be at restricted times or days of week. Could be ‘room only’ but must offer some services, otherwise the Self Catering category would apply. Likely that some staff will be employed in the business.

Business Tourism Award: Any business that offers a high quality experience to the business visitor and/or generates tourism through staging high quality business events (meetings, incentives, conferences, exhibitions). 

Dog Friendly Business of the Year: Not just accommodation – any kind or style of tourism business that accepts and welcomes dogs.

Guided Tour of the Year: Could be paid/volunteer guides as a stand-alone tour or in an attraction, bus tour guides, boat trip guides etc. There must be at least one guide.  Judge must be able to test the guided tour between 8 January and 9 March 2018 – i.e. open to the public and not a private tour.

Holiday Park of the Year: Operators of Holiday Parks with static vans, touring pitches, tent pitches and glamping, or any combination of this style of accommodation and operators of Holiday Villages that offer room only or self catering accommodation. 

Hotel of the Year: Full service hotel offering a minimum of bar, dinner and breakfast. Any size hotel, no minimum number of rooms, but if less than ten rooms, likely to be more suitable for the ‘Boutique’ category.

Inbound Tourism Award: This category recognises businesses that have adapted or developed their product to appeal to international visitors and increased business from target inbound markets. Entrants will provide high quality service and memorable experiences for international visitors and undertake specific marketing activities to reach this audience.

Inclusive Tourism Award: Tourism businesses that provide inclusive tourism experiences for all visitors, particularly disabled people and others with physical and sensory access needs such as older people. Any business directly involved in tourism is eligible. This includes accommodation providers, visitor attractions, restaurant/cafes, tourist information providers and other types of businesses, such as retail outlets that are part of the visitor economy.

Innovation in Tourism Award: This award recognises innovative developments by tourism businesses that increase productivity and profitability, setting themselves apart from competitors. It may be a unique customer experience that embraces new technology, a different approach to attracting customers or a new product or service, which generates more profit. Any business directly involved in tourism is eligible and businesses of any size may apply.

Large Visitor Attraction of the Year: Over 75,000 visitors a year or more than 10 full-time equivalent members of staff. N.B. Attractions can make own choice of category if fit into both Large and Small categories. Must also meet VisitEngland’s definition of a visitor attraction.
New Tourism Business Award: This category is for high performing new businesses, demonstrating excellent understanding of their market.  They will be exceeding the expectations of their customers and have clear plans for further developing their business in future. Any business directly involved in tourism is eligible and must have been trading for at least 6 months, up to a maximum of 2 years, on 30th October 2017.

Self Catering Holiday Provider of the Year: Eligible as a single self catering property or a self catering multi-unit site. The business must be situated in a single location. For a single property, it can offer any style of self catering accommodation and accommodate any number of guests, for example, house, cottage, barn conversion or apartment. For a multi-unit site, it might be simple and offer self catering accommodation only, or might offer other services and facilities, for example swimming pool, children’s play area, horse riding, honesty shop etc. These extra services and facilities need to be for the sole use of holiday residents.

Small Visitor Attraction of the Year: Under 75,000 visitors or fewer than 10 full-time equivalent members of staff. N.B. Attractions can make own choice of category if fit into both Small and Large categories. Must also meet VisitEngland’s definition of a visitor attraction.

Sustainable Tourism Award: Tourism businesses that can illustrate their excellence and commitment to sustainability best practice. Any business directly involved in tourism is eligible. This includes accommodation providers, visitor attractions, restaurant/cafes, tourist information providers and other types of businesses, such as retail outlets that are part of the visitor economy.

Taste of England Award: Any food service business that offers excellence and innovation within the tourism industry. For example, Restaurants, Hotel Restaurants, Cafes, Street Food etc. could be eligible. 

Tourism Pub of the Year: Any pub in England that makes a significant contribution to tourism in their area. This can be a pub with or without accommodation. The accommodation is not part of the judging for this award. However, pubs must offer food and the option for customers to enjoy a drink and not dine.
Visitor Information Provider of the Year: Open to organisations responsible for the dissemination of tourist information with a physical presence in a location, open to the public from where information can be obtained. Information provision must have some element of face to face contact, but information technology can supplement the service. Eligible providers can enter regardless of their size, location or resources. There is no need to be open every day of the week or all year round, but the judge must be able to visit between 8 January and 9 March 2018

Does my application have to be completed electronically or are hard copies acceptable?
All applications and supporting information must be submitted electronically. Hard copy submissions will not be considered. However, if you are experiencing difficulties please use the email and helpline contact points below.

How long does it take to complete each application?
We estimate that it should take around a couple of hours to complete each application, but this can obviously vary according to how easily accessible the information is available to you and how comprehensive you wish to make your application. However, you do not need to complete the application in one go. You will be asked to choose your own user name and password and can re-enter as often as you like to change, update or add to your application. Only when you are entirely satisfied will you press ‘Submit’. This must be before 5pm on Friday 5th January, 2018.
Should I send other supplementary information as well as my completed application form?
If there is any other information (not available online) that you would like to include to illustrate points made in your application, for example, regional or national press coverage, please create and upload a single document in Word or PDF format. Please name this document using your business name and the wording Supplementary Evidence. If more than one document is sent, it will not be made available to the judges (this does not include your regional judging report). Please ensure each piece of evidence in your Supplementary Evidence document is indexed to the relevant question.

What happens when you receive my application?
The closing date for receipt of applications is 5pm on Friday 5th January, 2018. Finalists will be notified in late March, 2018.

Is the information I send to you kept private and confidential?
Yes. Only the organisers, judges and judging panel will have access to your application form and any supporting documentation. However, you should be aware that if you become a finalist, the judges’ comments about the quality of your business may be used as part of the script at any Awards presentation.

How is the judging carried out?
The first stage of judging will be based on your written application. This stage will also take into account online reviews and regional judging reports where relevant. Depending on the category being assessed, the judges will consider:
  • Content of your application form, especially evidence to demonstrate commitment to customer service and satisfaction and business success
  • VisitEngland assessment recent reports if in VisitEngland’s quality scheme
  • Judging report if you are a finalist from regional award – don’t forget to attach this with your application if you have a regional report
  • Online reviews where available and a review of the applicant's own website and any other online marketing that can be found
A shortlist of entrants will then be selected following the first stage of judging. The shortlisted applicants will then be mystery shopped in person by one of our assessment team as well as/or by telephone or email in the second stage of the judging process. As a condition of entry to the VisitEngland Awards, applicants must agree to reimburse on departure the cost of the judge’s and his/her partner’s accommodation, meals (excluding alcoholic drinks) or admission/ticket cost as appropriate to the category. You will be notified when they leave or check out and they will provide identification to substantiate their role on behalf of VisitEngland.
Your business must be open at some point between Monday 8th January and Friday 9th March 2017, so the judges can visit/make a booking. If you are closed for any part of this period, please ensure this is highlighted on your application form. Even if your business is closed for the entire period, if you are able to receive a visit from a judge you may still be able to enter.

Following the second stage of judging, the most highly rated entrants from the shortlist will be confirmed as finalists with an award recommendation. The recommendations for all finalists will then be scrutinised by VisitEngland’s top panel of national judges and the final level of award will be determined.

When are the winners announced?
There will be no advance notification of the winners as these will be announced at the Awards Ceremony. However, the finalists will be published once decided by the national judges.

Can I get some feedback from the judges about my application?
The volume of applications makes it difficult for the assessment team to provide feedback for every applicant. However, the judges recognise that feedback can make a great difference to how you run your business by highlighting strengths and weaknesses and areas for improvement. Therefore, all finalists will receive feedback on their applications. If not a finalist, only general feedback will be available after the Awards presentation. The high volume of applications will make it impossible for judges to engage in any individual discussions with applicants.

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PR25 3UQ

Tel: 01772 767767


Contact the VE Awards Team
For all enquires, please use the contact form below: