Here's the bottom line - Awards
offer a great incentive which encourages good practices and
helps develop communication about critical topics. That said,
awards can be manipulated or simply developed in a way that
does not promote in depth dialogue. Regrettably, there have
been few surveys of awards.
We like to see awards that have encourage public and real-time
interaction among nominees and their supporters AND among nominees.
We'd like to see announcements and short lists go live in a
timely manner and for final announcements to be made prior to
the ceremonies. Unlike the Oscars, Emmys and other entertainment
awards, tourism and conservation awards don't need the drama.
That said, we love to see the ceremonies online the Web. More
Few people receive or give or an award that is not 'prestigious.'
Awards play a critical role in establishing a positive reputation
for products and services.
One factor that distinguishes the awards conducted on Planeta.com:
the awards are not just a one off announcement. We use every
tool -- the website, twitter, wiki, flickr and face-to-face
conversations -- to talk up the positives.
What's interesting is that awards tend to certify the recipient
and the donor. 'How green is that lodge? It won x-award.' 'How
green is that organization? It gives the x-award.' How 'green'
are the green tourism awards? It depends who you ask!
Acknowledging good practices in tourism is still evolving.
Leaders who attempt to work in an ethical and ecological fashion
do so not necessarily for the recognition, but appreciate the
kudos given by their peers.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to evaluating award
programs. Some request applicants nominate themselves. Others
seek out leaders and award them for their accomplishments. Some
programs provide a financial incentive to the winner. Others
ask that the 'winners' pay for their prize.
Participating in awards is one way in which nominees can share
experiences and grow their field.
Critics point out that some award programs choose the winner
based on whether or not the winner is attending a particular
trade event or conference.
Here are some true stories from first-hand experiences as a
judge, recipient and grantor.