5 Reasons Marketers Should Value Tourism Awards

February 09, 2023

Tourism awards given by media and industry associations can do for destinations what Oscar nods do for movies and Grammy’s do for songs. By propping them up on podiums, destinations can get the same sort of attention Céline Dion got for that song from Titanic. And it certainly didn’t hurt her career.

With groups like the Public Relations Society of America and Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International handing out awards each year, destination marketers need to keep their eyes open for applications and submissions. Winning something like a Travvy may seem like a fun reason to have a Prosecco toast, but it can mean a lot more for marketing efforts.

Other tourism awards from industry publications like Skift and Travel Weekly, as well as consumer nods from Condé Nast Traveler and Travel+Leisure, may not require applications, but being aware of them is still key to unlocking their marketing potential. More than just an obvious ovation to a destination’s achievements among peers, these awards can spur some very positive PR.

1. Awards are Low-Investment – and Good –  Press
Winning an award is a chance to get good press and boast naturally about a destination’s accomplishment. Rather than saying, “Look what we did,” destinations can let someone else do the bragging for them by celebrating their achievements. Media outlets will share the winners and marketers can simply watch the media mentions accumulate.

Furthermore, many tourism awards come from votes by industry leaders and consumers, while others require a small fee to enter. Either way, the investment could be less than traditional advertising – in some cases, it means just a bit of time to prepare an award entry.

2. Awards Are News Items to Push Out
Winning an award also gives marketing teams something to talk about. When a publication or industry association shares a list of winners, destinations must be quick to craft a press release or pitch around the award to share the news about the praise. It’s a free pass for a destination to be proactive about boasting and to remind the media and consumers alike that people are talking about what’s happening there.

3. Awards Bolster Destination Morale
Not to get too sentimental, but especially after the worst of the pandemic, it’s good to feel, well, good. Winning an award is a chance for destination marketers to get their teams and partners excited about their accomplishments.

While it may not seem like a direct value-added proposition to marketing efforts, this sort of motivation can trickle down to partners like hotels and tour operators to light a fire under them to be part of the winning spirit that a destination award fosters.

4. Awards Offer Solid Social Media Content
On a more concrete level, tourism awards make great social media content. Consider using the award as a springboard for some creative content that you can share throughout the year. It could be a short video or an image from an award ceremony – let the creative team go wild!

Whatever goes up on socials, just use the prize as a chance to remind audiences how great the destination is. Be sure to tag appropriately to let media outlets and associations know that your DMO appreciates the nod.

5. Awards Provide Clout for Later
KPIs for marketing are prone to changing, but awards are always something that looks good for a destination. Being the best in a category or a top destination, for example, provides the chance to elevate marketing efforts when it comes time for budget allocations by demonstrating clearly that the industry is paying attention to your work.

Also, for leaders looking for speaking engagements or thought leadership possibilities, working on a destination that won a top award will definitely have organizers and editors looking twice at your proposition. Academics, doctors, and lawyers have letters after their names to show their cred, but marketers can use tourism awards as their own sort of clout to further their goals.

Looking to leverage the potential of tourism awards for your marketing efforts? It’s doable, and DCI has more than 60 years of nabbing prizes for its client destinations. Get in touch with Kayla Leska at [email protected] to explore how DCI’s tourism division can help get your destination noticed by consumers and award committees alike.

headshot of Daniella Middletone
Written by

Daniella Middleton