Like most of you, I was watching the Rio Olympics recently and was captivated by the beaming faces of the winners wearing their medals, proudly staring at their flag as their national anthem played.
I felt immensely happy for the athletes but what struck me most was the recognition that their success comes down to dedication and personal sacrifice. Their commitment, talent and endless practice, practice, practice over weeks, months and years, all for a chance to stand on the top step and have a medal put around their neck. Their message was that an Olympic title can be yours; if you work hard enough for it.
Which made me think about the CIM Travel Marketing Awards, of which I’m a head judge. Because it’s also the time of year when we want to hear what you’ve been working on since last September.
Has your dedication and endless work, work, work paid off? What have you done that makes you feel proud? What has been successful beyond your wildest dreams? What has made you excited about your job?
Have a think, write them down, and enter them for an award. Or two. Or three.
OK, we may not give medals or play the national anthem, but you will always have the title, the joyous feeling of winning and of being recognised by your peers as having done something worthwhile; and the confirmation that all those late nights and meetings were worth it.
Like many Olympic competitions, you have to be judged. And like them, we can only judge what is put in front of us on the day. Awards are judged entirely on their merit, not reputation. The competition is tough, and the standard of entries is very high. We are a nation of travellers and marketing experts and the quality of the entries reflects that.
We’re not just interested in big, well-known brands or companies. Or big budgets. For example, online group travel company The Flash Pack won our first ever platinum award for their first ever PR campaign.
Their spectacular “First Ever Selfie with Jesus” was taken by one of their founders from the very top of the statue of Christ the Redeemer in
Rio de Janeiro. The result was acknowledged as “the best selfie ever” by the world’s press, TV and online commentators. By combining the ethos of their travel company, the location of the World Cup (and Olympics) and the must-have accessory of the decade… a selfie, bookings and enquiries went through the roof. Not bad for a start-up and the cost of a flight to Rio.
This year, Hostelworld won the only platinum award of the night for producing the incredible “Youth Hostelling with Chris Eubank”. They out-Alan Partridge-ed Alan Partridge and brought a fictional programme to life, with knockout results.
To stand the best chance of winning next year, apart from having a fantastic idea, you need to get your point across clearly and succinctly and make sure that your brilliance and hard work really stands out off the page. So, don’t just hand it to the office junior to write.
Judges have a lot to read and review and a good entry stands out a mile. Winning entries tell us exactly why what they did is so great. They are not vague. They explain what makes their entry special and why they feel proud and excited about it.
And yes, results do matter. For example, if you set up an objective, make sure it is reached – or exceeded. Use graphs. Use actual data. Use indexes. Use benchmarks. In fact, use anything possible to show that what you did actually worked.
Details, passion and results enable judges with little or no experience of your brand or company to grasp why your work deserves to be recognised and awarded. So start writing and good luck.
See you in March, at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London for the awards, where hopefully you’ll be taking home a bronze, silver, gold or even platinum.
See categories for this year’s awards, and entry forms, at thetravelmarketingawards.com