10 expert insights: How to make a great Awards for Excellence entry

20 May 2019

Entry to the 22nd annual Awards for Excellence is now open! Each year at the Awards for Excellence, Hospitality New Zealand celebrates the achievements, innovation and hard work of our members. The Awards recognise excellence from among our accommodation and food and beverage members, honouring big and small businesses alike.

You may be confident that your business has achieved high standards, but are you confident that you know how best to convey your business’ winning qualities in your entry submission? What details will pique the interest of our Awards judges? What makes an excellent Awards entry?

To answer these question, Hospitality New Zealand spoke to one of our longest standing members of the Awards for Excellence judging panel, Michael Friend. Michael has not only been an Awards for Excellence judge for four years running, but is also one of Hospitality New Zealand’s Hall of Fame members. This year, Michael will be one of six judges tasked with picking the finalists and winners at the Awards for Excellence 2019.

According to Michael, completing your Awards entry form gives members a great opportunity to take time to engage with their staff, customers and community and put together a "full ‘health check’ of your business” in the process, as well as inspiring good ideas for the future. It is also a great chance to celebrate the great things that you have achieved with your business.

Here, Michael offers our members a step by step guide on how to make the most of your Award entry, and write a great submission.

This could be the year that you win…

ONE: Choose carefully the category you wish to enter to ensure it is the most appropriate category for your business to enter and one that will enable you to compile a well written, well thought out entry. You may enter as many categories as you wish but it is most unlikely that your entry for one will be appropriate for another.

TWO: Read the entry form carefully noting the limit on the number of words and the request to provide a selection of photos and links to respective social media pages, review sites and your own website.

THREE: Each category details four or five factors that the judges expect to be addressed (as a minimum) in your entry. Just answer them in your own words - you do not need to be an expert wordsmith! If there is additional information that you feel will enhance the entry then please include it.

FOUR: As words are limited (a maximum of 200 words per question) keep away from the ‘fluffy’ stuff. It is vital that you answer HOW the outcomes have been achieved, or WHY you have chosen to do something or WHAT you have chosen to do. Please don’t focus on the outcomes as they don’t tell the story nor paint the pictures.

FIVE: Pictures and images relating to the category you have entered are very powerful tools. Don’t hesitate to use these as a further means to tell your story. Before and after photos are really important in the Redeveloped categories and both food and beverage menus are vital in F&B categories.

SIX: Evidence is also really important. If you are asked to provide a plan or describe an activity, provide the basic structure and/or process you undertake so that the judges can take comfort that these mechanisms are in place. The judges do not wish you to provide any confidential or sensitive business information. References from regulatory authorities are requested in some categories and this, too, will enhance your entry.

SEVEN: If you choose the Marketing category please remember that this is more than just providing a schedule of advertising and promotions. The judges will also be looking for the process that has been undertaken to determine that your business wants to develop a relationship with a certain market and how you believe you can best satisfy that market.

EIGHT: Innovation and new ideas can take various forms and can sometimes be something really quite simple and at other times something quite substantial and/or unique. Where the opportunity presents itself please tell the judges any innovation you have adopted in your business.

NINE: Remember to provide links to social media pages, review sites and your website, ensuring there is good content relevant to the category you have entered. Whilst the judges will search for this information it may be to your advantage that you ‘point them in the right direction’.

TEN: Finally, engage your staff in the process and have fun! If you treat this exercise as a ‘health check’ of your business you will be surprised at both how much you have achieved and what further opportunities present themselves for the future. And, don’t forget, celebrate all those achievements!

Entry to the Hospitality New Zealand Awards for Excellence 2019 are now open. Head to awards.hospitality.org.nz now to enter.

Take a look at the categories for the Awards for Excellence 2019 and the entry criteria here.

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