The East of England Tourism Awards 2022-2023 are now open for entries. Here we speak to the judges and sponsors of the Large Hotel of the Year and Small Hotel of the Year categories, to find out what they will be looking for in the winners.

Large Hotel of the Year

Chris Barrett, partner at Ensors Chartered Accountants:

Why were you keen to get involved in the East of England Tourism Awards?

Being one of the major industry sectors for the East of England I am extremely keen to see the tourism industry survive and prosper. I am also keen to promote the region’s success stories.

Have you ever been judged for an award yourself?

Although I personally have never been judged for an award, as a firm we have won several awards including Mid-Tier Firm of the Year at the British Accountancy Awards and Medium Business of the Year at the Hunts Post Huntingdonshire Business Awards.

If so, will you use that experience when judging this award?

Entering awards on behalf of the firm has certainly helped me in judging and finding the right questions to ask when I meet the finalists. When entering awards, it’s so easy to get dragged into the detail when what is needed is a solid overview of the story.

What have your previous experiences of judging been like?

Very, very rewarding. To visit and speak to businesses who are succeeding is an uplifting experience – you can’t help but feel enthused and driven.

What will it take to wow you?

After what the industry has suffered in the recent period, what will wow me is a demonstration of determination and fight.

There have been some amazing stories of how the industry as a whole has reacted to the pandemic and I look forward to hearing some of those stories from our region’s hotel sector.

Small Hotel of the Year

Nathan Doe, managing director at John Doe Carpets and Furniture:

What do you bring to the judging process?

I think passion! It’s good to be passionate about what you love, and I love where I live. The East of England has so much to offer and there’s a reason why so many people travel from far and wide for just a taste of the culture that so many of us take for granted on a daily basis.

It’s a great honour to be involved in promoting our local small hotels and a chance to say thank you to all those that work tirelessly to help make this such a world-class tourist destination.

What have your previous experiences of judging been like?

I’ve judged the East of England Tourism Awards before and it was a fantastic experience in which I met lots of brilliant local business people. The presentation evening, bringing the best of what Norfolk and Suffolk tourism has to offer, was a great occasion and a pleasure to be a part of.

What will it take to wow you?

In my view, a stand out entrant will showcase the region’s greatest assets and unique culture in a genuine way through their hotel. From the initial welcome and experiences on offer to the food and comfort of your room – what will stand out to me is the offering and experience as a whole.

What advice would you give to a tourism business that’s considering entering this award?

Don’t be intimidated by the other nominations. If you’re passionate about what you do then believe in it and your dedication and passion will always shine through. After all, you have to be in it to win it!

Archant organises and hosts the annual East of England Tourism Awards to recognise and celebrate those businesses and individuals that contribute to the regional visitor economy. The awards are open for entries until Sunday, October 2. To enter, please visit