The UK’s leading coach tour operators, destinations, visitor attractions, hotels and tourism industry suppliers were honoured at the British Coach Tourism Awards 2019.
The prestigious event, which recognises excellence across the coach tourism community, was held at the National Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham on 20 March.
The cathedral city of Wells and The Bishop’s Palace, the Rendezvous Hotel in Skipton, Planet Hollywood, Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway, Warner Leisure Hotels, P&O Ferries, Ullswater Steamers and Greatdays Travel Group all saw off stiff competition to take home accolades. In the coach tour operator categories the top awards went to Johnsons Coaches, Acklams Coaches, Masons Minibus & Coach Hire, Bluebird Coaches (Weymouth), United Minibuses & Coaches, Reays Coaches, and Richmond’s Coaches.
Chris Wales, former Coach Tourism Association chief executive, Coach Drivers’ Club president and British Coach Tourism Awards judge, was posthumously presented with the British Coach Tourism Special Recognition Award for his significant contribution to the coach tourism industry.
The annual awards, the only national awards scheme that specifically focuses on coach tourism, were organised by Diversified Communications UK. This year’s celebrity presenter was TV personality Carol Vorderman MBE.
David Maguire, chair of judges and event director of British Coach Tourism Awards says: “Huge congratulations goes to all our winners in this year’s British Coach Tourism Awards. With real emotion among our highly deserving winners and a fantastic atmosphere of celebration, I believe it was one of our best awards yet.
“Once again, the quality of the entries reflected the quality and importance of the amazing coach tourism sector and the inspiring professionals working in it. The awards are a great way to reward them for their hard work and dedication to the UK tourism sector, so it’s an honour to be a part of that. Well done to everyone who took home an award, and a huge thanks to our judges, our partners, and everyone in the industry who supports the event.”
Here’s the full list of winners:
Coach Friendly Destination – partnered by the Coach Tourism Association
Bournemouth & Poole – HIGHLY COMMENDED
Coach Friendly Attraction – partnered by Beverley. East Yorkshire
The Bishop’s Palace, Wells
New Lanark Mills World Heritage Site – HIGHLY COMMENDED
Cross-Sea Carrier – partnered by Edwards Coach Holidays
P & O Ferries
River and Inland Cruise Operator – partnered by DFDS
Heritage Railway– partnered by City Cruises
Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway
Accommodation provider (Independent Hotels)– partnered by ICT Group Travel
Rendezvous Hotel, Skipton
Accommodation Provider (Hotel Groups)– partnered by Bakers Dolphin
Warner Leisure Hotels
Hallmark Hotels – HIGHLY COMMENDED
Tour Wholesaler and Industry Supplier– partnered by Planet Hollywood and The View from the Shard
Greatdays Travel Group
Dining Experience – partnered by AGTO (Association of Group Travel Organisers)
360 Cookhouse – HIGHLY COMMENDED
Coach Holiday Programme – partnered by Distinctive Systems
Bakers Dolphin – HIGHLY COMMENDED
Day Excursion Programme – partnered by P&O Ferries
Lucketts Travel – HIGHLY COMMENDED
Coach Tourism Innovation of the Year – partnered by Eurotunnel
United Minibuses & Coaches – Online Live Pricing Tool
Coach Tourism Professional of the Year – partnered by Continuum
Andrew Simpson – Classic Britain Hotels
Coach Tour Driver of the Year – partnered by Roadchef
Ken Cato – Masons Minibus & Coach Hire
Coach Tour Operator – Small Fleet (1-5 coaches) – partnered by Condor Ferries
Coach Tour Operator – Medium Fleet (6-15 coaches) – partnered by Warner Leisure Hotels
Bluebird Coaches (Weymouth) Ltd
Coach Tour Operator – Large Fleet (more than 15 coaches) – partnered by Wrightsure
The British Coach Tourism Recognition Award
For more information about the British Coach Tourism Awards, go to www.britishcoachawards.co.uk.
The verdict from the floor
With television presenter and former Channel 4 host Carol Vorderman hosting the evening there was never any likelihood that this year’s British Coach Tourism Awards would be anything other than entertaining. And so it turned out.
From a colourful opening display from the dancers from Blackpool entertainment venue Viva Blackpool, through to Carol reminding audiences why she’s often called Carol ‘Vorderbum’, the evening flowed very well.
With around 400 tourism professionals and guests in the room at the National Motorcycle Museum it’s clear the event continues to be a popular date in the coach tourism calendar.
The event takes place on the first night of the two-day British Tourism & Travel Show at the NEC. This year it was noticeable that many of those attending the awards then took time to visit the show the following day.
This was the 15th year of the awards, a timeline that has seen the event held at the Ricoh Stadium in Coventry, moving to the Hilton Hotel in Stratford-upon-Avon, then on to Liverpool Cathedral, Blackpool Tower Ballroom, West Midland Safari Park and Resorts World at the NEC, before finding its current home at the NMM. Under the auspices of Diversified Communications UK, the event benefits from high production values, both in terms of the technical requirements and the associated print.
The presentation of the awards, a sequence honed over these last few years, keeps things moving along.
A well-produced ‘Finalists’ brochure’, placed on tables at the start of the evening, not only gives guests the opportunity to see who’s up for what, but also gives prominent exposure for event partner and supporter branding. With budgets being squeezed, this sort of exposure is what partners and supporters are looking for. A list showing previous winners of each award would be a welcome addition.
So, good food, good entertainment, good attendance, good company and a well-produced show resulted in a successful British Coach Tourism Awards 2019.
And for this writer and coach tourism consultant, to have four clients as finalists, up for a total of six awards, with two outright wins and one highly commended, a very successful evening all round.