What is Forbes Travel Guide Award?
I am sure most of you’ve heard about 2015 winners of Forbes Travel Awards since all hospitality related media were just about it for a while. We were all captivated by the beautiful photographs and soul-stirring descriptions of the stunning features and facilities. Allow me to briefly describe where it all came from. Forbes Travel Guide Award is undoubtedly the most prestigious globally recognized prize in hotel industry a hotel, spa or restaurant could achieve. The history of the award reaches 1958. At that time it was called Mobil and it was the oldest travel guide in the United States. In the beginning the guide covered only USA and Canada. In 2008 Forbes Travel Guide went worldwide. Currently, it recognizes properties with Five-Star, Four-Star and Recommended ratings. Worth remembering is that Forbes Travel Guide is not a user-generated platform, the evaluation is based on the most stringent standards in the industry and objectivity of the professional inspector. Forbes Travel Guide is an official worldwide benchmark for excellence.
What are the differences between the ratings?
Let`s start with the Recommended Properties Award. Briefly said, it is about distinguishing location, design, ambience, style and functionality.
Right after, we have Four Star Properties where the awarded hotels stand out with their stunning facilities and quality of the amenities. The staff is hospitable with remarkable attention to details.
The most exceptional is the prestigious Five Star Properties Award. The winners characterize with literally flawless service, anticipating staff and the finest quality of products. Needless to say, the design is magnificent and the ambience is noteworthy. As A Forbes Travel Guide Five say, the property is a destination unto itself.
Is it hard to obtain the Award?
Well, it obviously is not effortless. There are around 500 standards according to which the professional Inspector is shopping the property. As a Manager who has participated in the whole experience I can admit that it takes few months of very intensive service-orientated trainings. The standards are very intuitive, subtle and demanding. However, you wouldn`t believe how much they actually raise your service excellence level (it even reflects in your hotel group guest surveys, TripAdvisor comments etc.) and how much there is still to improve. You have to incorporate them into your SOPs and then it is all about consistency. Passionate team and consistency are the keys.
What are the benefits of all the effort and money invested in the race for the award?
As far as I am concerned and I assume the winners as well, the answer is rather obvious.
First of all, the participation in the program gives you unlimited access to service and facility standards. The meticulous review after inspection is given so that property managers can familiarize with it and use as a base of action plans. The access to reports, data and analysis is also provided. The property is being included in promotional programs of Forbes Travel Guide and your hotel has the right to put the logo in its media platforms. It gives the property global unbeatable fame.
Unfortunately, it is noticeable that Europe is poor in the Forbes Travel Guide Awards. It is only Great Britain with 19 hotels mostly in London and 7 Spas. That is rather disappointing since France, Italy, Germany, Poland, Spain, Austria, Switzerland etc. are packed with plenty to offer. Does it mean that besides the breath-taking architecture, the gems of Paris, Barcelona, Milan, Munich, Cracow cannot offer the highest level of service excellence?
Managers, shall we?