East of England Tourism Awards is an 'uplifting experience’

Portrait of happy hotel receptionist wearing face mask at work and looking at camera.

The Large Hotel of the Year and Small Hotel of the Year awards recognise local tourism businesses demonstrating passion and providing excellent customer experiences - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

The East of England Tourism Awards 2021 are open for entries. Here we speak to the judges and sponsors of the Large Hotel of the Year and Small Hotel of the Year award categories. 

Chris Barrett, partner at Ensors Chartered Accountants

Chris Barrett, partner at Ensors Chartered Accountants - Credit: Ensors Chartered Accountants


Chris Barrett, partner at Ensors Chartered Accountants: 

What can you tell us about your involvement in the tourism industry?  

As a team, we work closely with a number of leisure and tourism businesses in the East of England providing services from accounts preparation, audit and tax planning to sourcing finance, preparing financial forecasts and bookkeeping support. 

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

Having just had one of the hardest 18 months this sector has ever experienced, we need to come back fighting and promote the region’s success stories. I am extremely keen to see the industry survive and prosper.   

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What do you bring to the judging process?  

As a firm we have won several awards including the British Accountancy Awards Mid-Tier Firm of the Year and the Hunts Post Medium Business of the Year. With 20 years of experience in the accounting profession, I will bring a critical financial eye to the judging process along with the ability to review an operating model as a whole entity.  

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

What will it take to wow you?  

A demonstration of determination and fight. There have been some amazing stories of how the industry has reacted to the pandemic and I look forward to hearing some of those stories from the hotel sector. 

Do you have any anecdotes of large hotel experiences that have blown you away?  

After proposing to my wife, I whisked her away for a weekend break. The hotel had asked if we were celebrating anything in particular and I had let on our engagement, expecting perhaps a bottle of champagne in the room. They certainly didn’t let us down. From fresh roses on the breakfast tray to a subtly dressed table at dinner and a beautiful posy of flowers to take home, it truly made the weekend special. 

What advice would you give to a large hotel that’s considering entering?  

Enter! You might not think what you and your team have done is particularly ground-breaking, but remember: you have lived the last 18 months at very close quarters to your business. Let us, the judges, assess your achievements from the outside in. 

Edward Doe, director of John Doe Carpets & Furniture

Edward Doe, director of John Doe Carpets & Furniture - Credit: John Doe Carpets & Furniture


Edward Doe, director of John Doe Carpets & Furniture: 

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

It’s a great honour for us to promote our local hotels and a chance to say thank you to all those that have worked tirelessly during a difficult period for the hospitality industry.

Our region has so much to offer and there’s a reason why so many people travel from far and wide for a taste of our culture. Our small hotels play a massive part in what makes our region such a world-class tourist destination. 

What have your previous experiences of judging been like?  

I’ve judged the Norfolk and Suffolk Tourism Awards before and it was a fantastic experience in which I met lots of brilliant business people. The presentation evening was a great occasion and a pleasure to be a part of. 

What will it take to wow you?  

A stand-out entrant will showcase the East of England'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 small hotel that’s considering entering? 

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

The deadline for entries to the East of England Tourism Awards is midnight on October 3. To see the full list of categories and criteria visit www.tourismawards.co.uk 

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