How To Enter the Cumbria Tourism Awards
There are 16 award categories to suit Cumbria’s vast and diverse range of tourism businesses. Winning businesses will provide truly memorable visitor experiences and demonstrate excellence across every aspect of their business.
The Sheila Hensman Unsung Hero Award recognises the outstanding contribution to excellence offered by an individual employee.
All entries should be completed on the VisitEngland online portal, by following the individual link for each category. An entry guide and mock entry form can be downloaded below for each of the award categories. These should be used for checking you are eligible to enter and preparing a draft entry prior to completing your online submission.
No entries other than those completed on the official online system will be accepted. One online entry should be made for each category you wish to enter.
The awards are open to all tourism businesses in Cumbria.
The competition is free to enter. If you are successful in being shortlisted in your award category, you will be required to pay for a mystery shopping visit or announced judging visit. These costs will be appropriate to each award category and further details can be found here and will be sent with the shortlisting notification should you reach the event final.
Businesses are expected to be members of Cumbria Tourism to get the full benefit of the promotion associated with being part of the awards competition. Non-members of Cumbria Tourism who are successful in being shortlisted and reaching the event final will be given of the opportunity to join membership or pay a non-member rate of £380+VAT to progress their application.
The closing date for entries has been extended to 5pm on Thursday 7th March 2024. Please note that no further extensions will be offered and no entries received after this time will be accepted.
Award Categories (click on the category to download the entry form)
Recognises tourism businesses that excel in providing an inclusive customer experience, particularly for those with accessibility requirements.
Sponsored by Dodd & Co
Recognises bed & breakfast and guest house businesses that provide a fabulous service and create great memories for their guests. This category is usually for those with a maximum of 12 rooms and are likely to have a proprietor or staff member living on site.
Sponsored by The Burnetts
Recognises holiday parks, sites and villages that provide exceptional guest experiences across static vans, touring pitches, shepherd’s huts and more.
Sponsored by Westmorland & Furness Council
Recognises tourism businesses who are truly committed to being sustainable, responsible and ethical in how they operate and interact with customers, the wider community and the environment.
Recognises providers of memorable and immersive activities for visitors to participate in, from cooking masterclasses to woodland nature tours.
Sponsored by Christie & Co
Recognises large full-service hotels that provide exemplary service, a top-quality food offering and a stay that guests will remember for years to come. Large Hotel is usually for those with at least 35 rooms and offer a reception/check-in area, restaurant, bar, dinner and breakfast.
Sponsored by H&H Reeds
Recognises large visitor attractions that provide truly memorable visitor experiences and demonstrate excellence across every aspect of the business. Large Visitor Attraction is for those attracting 75,000 visitors or more per year or employing more than 10 full-time equivalent members of staff.
Sponsored by Thomson Hayton Winkley
Recognises high performing new tourism businesses, demonstrating excellent understanding of their market, exceeding the expectations of their customers with clear plans for future development. New tourism businesses will have been trading for at least three months and up to two years.
For makers and producers whose high-quality, locally made products create a unique and memorable experience that enhances Cumbria’s visitor offer.
Pub of the Year
Recognises pubs that make a significant contribution to tourism in their area, with a food and drink offering that includes quality locally sourced produce.
Sponsored by The Cumberland
Recognises self-catering accommodation businesses that provide the highest quality holidays and help to create fabulous memories for all their guests, from romantic hideaways to family-friendly breaks.
For self-catering accommodation businesses providing truly memorable guest experiences and demonstrating excellence across every aspect of the business. Self-catering accommodation is for a single self-catering property or a collection of self-catering properties on a single site, owned by the same proprietor and of a similar quality.
Sponsored by Colliers
Recognises small to medium serviced accommodation businesses that offer a fantastic welcome, memorable guest experiences and the highest standards in everything they do. Small Hotel is usually for those with a maximum of 35 rooms.
Recognises small visitor attractions that leave visitors with lasting memories and excel in customer service. Small Visitor Attraction is for those attracting 75,000 or fewer visitors per year or employing less than 10 full-time equivalent members of staff.
Sponsored by Lamont Pridmore
Recognises businesses within the tourism industry that offer outstanding cuisine, innovative service and excellence throughout their entire operation, including restaurants, hotel restaurants, cafes, tea rooms, coffee shops and bistros.
Sponsored by H&H Insurance Brokers
For all venues which host weddings whether large or small. The winner will deliver distinctive and/ or innovative weddings which create a unique and memorable experience. Weddings will be of exceptional quality, provide an outstanding service and display attention to detail and high standards of organisation and communication.
Recognises an individual working for a tourism business who excels in their role and deserves to be applauded for their work and commitment to the industry. The nominee is unlikely to be a business owner or senior manager and could work in any area of the business. They can be new to the industry or have worked in tourism for some time.
All entrants must be based in Cumbria. Additional eligibility criteria may apply to specific awards so please check the individual award entry guidance for full details.
Please make sure you have read the full Terms and Conditions before completing your entry and understood the judging fees which apply should you be selected as a finalist.
The Judging Process
In round one, up to 4 finalists will be shortlisted in each category, based on the information provided in the entry form and any supporting evidence. Your entries are scored against a strict scoring matrix prepared by VisitEngland and followed by all regions. Please answer as fully as possible and don’t assume the judges already know anything about your business.
The finalists will be announced in early April and informed about round two of judging – either a mystery shopping visit or an announced judging visit.
While the awards are free to enter, finalists will be required to pay for a mystery shopping visit or judging visit. These costs will be appropriate to each award category. Full details can be found here. Further details will be sent with the shortlisting notification should you reach the event final.
Where applicable, a mystery shopping visit will be realistic and appropriate to the award category. It will mimic natural consumer behaviour and be enacted by the mystery customer researcher. The fee charged includes the cost of accommodation, meals, entrance fees and visitor guides as appropriate to your award entry and business. A report detailing the mystery shoppers’ experiences will be shared with the judges and finalists will also receive copies after the awards ceremony has taken place.
An announced judging visit will be pre-arranged and will include a tour of the business and a discussion about the products and services offered as appropriate to the award category.
Winners will be selected based on the scores received in round one and two combined. Where scores are equal, an independent judging panel will meet to review the mystery shopper reports, entry forms and any other relevant information and decide the category winners.