How do judges rate/score the applications?
Judges are provided with a set of criteria on a checklist that they must evaluate for every application (the checklist is not published to the public but criteria and guidelines are provided to applicants). Judges read your answers and compare what you write with the criteria on the checklist. Judges also draw on their own experience and knowledge of your business category to determine how well you satisfy the criteria. It is up to you to convince the judges why your application is the best in the given category. You can and should submit as much evidence as possible that can make the case for you without a site visit. Include videos, photos, brochures, PDFs, articles from the press, customer reviews, even a virtual reality tour, whatever you think will give your business the best chance of winning! Then our judges make notes and then submit their final score to Association staff. Once all entries have been judged, Association staff process the scores and determine which entries have ranked the highest. If there is a tie, or a particularly difficult application, two or sometimes three different judges will be involved in the review of that application. If a judge has personal knowledge of or experience with your business, he/she is asked to abstain from processing your application, and another judge will review it.
Judges are unable to visit businesses in person due to the time and expense it would take to do so. If a business or destination wishes a more thorough on-site assessment for the purpose of its own development, please see our Food & Beverage Experience Assessment product.