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As we are currently in the middle of arranging our prestigious eviivo awards, we wanted to know why independent hosts and hoteliers like you should be entering them. So we spoke to Harriet Christie from LateRooms.com about the impact winning awards can have on a properties bookings and conversion, and what kinds of awards they currently offer.

So Harriet, can you tell us more about the types of awards LateRooms offer and how they are judged? 

Of course, LateRooms run two different awards every year. The first is what we call the Top Rated awards which we announce in January, and that’s properties that are offering customers great customer service and have an average review score of 80% or more. The percentage is based on two things ‘would you recommend to a friend’  and ‘would you stay again?’ So 80% is a really high percentage to get to. If you win that we send out certificates, window stickers and press packs so you can really shout about this great achievement. The second award is in March and it’s called the Simply the Guest award, where we delve further into the top rated properties and separate them into more specific categories like B&B’s, spa hotels, countryside and pet hotels. Once it’s split into categories, we will shortlist a top 10 for each that is based on reviews, and the one with the best reviews of that category is the winner. There are 20 categories in total, so loads of opportunity to be in with a chance to win.

What are the benefits of winning an award? 

There are heaps of benefits. You receive a certificate that we encourage you to to display in the property and having a certificate from say Laterooms or Tripadvisor gives your customers the added confidence of booking with you, as well as a press pack that shows you how to share your success with local press and on social media, so you can control what kind of exposure you get. We see a lot of local papers picking up on properties in their local area that win awards and we also announce the awards in the Daily Star and the Daily Mirror, so some really big national coverage too. We also use the Top Rated and Simply the Guest winning properties for our own marketing and social media campaigns, so you’ll be pushed out to our own database of nearly 5 million people quite regularly.

We like to get some high profile media partners involved to announce the Simply the Guest awards, for example this year for the Best Pet Property we had Pets at Home announce the award and the property was then featured in the Pets at Home Newsletter and throughout this year will receive ongoing support from them, so it’s really nice exposure. On top of that we also do loads of onsite branding as well, on the search results and the hotel details page, we make reference to what awards they have won. If you have won the Simply the Guest award we will put that image on your photo and mention what category you’ve won. It gives the customer that added confidence that the property is winning some decent awards. 

Do properties who win awards see an uplift in booking

Yes, absolutely, we do see an improvement in conversion for properties that have awards. These properties do see an increase in traffic, and they also get exposure to the promotional page and competitions that are regularly occurring as well. So that coupled with the offline exposure that you get from the newspapers ect, you ultimately get more traffic and more bookings. Of course it’s difficult to say that you’ll definitely get more bookings because that’s based on things like availability and demand, but as long as that’s all up to date then yes we absolutely do see an increase in bookings and conversion. 

What can a property do to stand out next year to make sure that they are in with a chance of winning?  

Well our awards are all based on general guest reviews, so as long as you’re offering the best customer service and experience at your property, you’re in with a chance. We look at the last 12 months of data when we announce our awards in January and anything that’s 80% or more will get a certificate from Laterooms. Based on that really high standard, we look at the Simply the Guest awards. We find that a lot of B&B’s and guest houses do seem to offer that really special experience and our B&B’s do seem to receive a lot of the higher guest awards.