The Cateys: 8 tips to write a winning award entry

05 February 2024
The Cateys: 8 tips to write a winning award entry

If you want your entry to stand out to the judges for this year's awards ceremony, here is some advice on being clear and concise

Winning a Catey is the pinnacle of any career in hospitality. But like any recognition, it only comes if you're able to tell your story convincingly. The Cateys judges, made up of former winners and industry experts, are looking for entries to clearly hit the brief outlined in the criteria, with evidence backing up claims. We receive hundreds of entries for the Cateys, so make sure yours is engaging and unique to ensure it stands out.

Here are some tips for ensuring your entry has the best possible chance of being shortlisted for – and even winning – a coveted Catey.

Scroll down for advice on how to write a Cateys entry

1. Read the criteria

The judges base their decisions on the instructions issued in the criteria of each award. Make a note of the criteria before you start and make sure you demonstrate how you, one of your team or your business has achieved outstanding success in the specific areas that are identified. If the instructions ask you to ‘please provide evidence to support your claims', do all you can to beef up your entry with statistics or a description of how a particular target or project was achieved.

2. Answer any questions posed

The questions in the entry forms are there to prompt positive responses and ensure the entrants cover all the areas the judges are looking for. Read the questions first, make a few notes on what you plan to cover for each, and then go back and provide the detail that will sell your entry. Back up all claims with specific reference points or figures.

3. Detail your objectives and the outcomes achieved

A winning entry will detail the objectives set out at the start of the entry and at the end show what has been achieved. The judges will be looking for specific projects or targets with measurable outcomes. Make sure they are realistic and backed up with the data.

4. Be entertaining

If there's a quirky story about an individual or business related to the award, do tell it. How have they gone above and beyond or supported customers or colleagues? Judges are looking for an entry that stands out, so while business acumen might be ubiquitous in entries, points of difference such as extra curricular work really help an entry shine. Don't be shy, share your success.

5. Talk to colleagues

Get advice from other people you know who have won an award. Look at what they did and how they presented their information. Be sure to check out what set former winners apart and how they told their stories too. The write ups of all winners are archived on

6. Tell a story

Put all the information in a logical order so the entry flows. Before you start writing, create an outline with different sections and headings, then put notes into each section with the points you want to make. Make it personal to your business and try not to waffle.

Resist the temptation to use AI-generated content or generic details of job functions. A longer entry does not improve your chances of winning. In fact, it's quite the reverse, as judges are likely to stop concentrating. Be precise and focused.

7. Personalise the entry

There are many industry awards out there and it may be tempting to alter and reuse an entry when applying for another. If you do this, ensure you personalise it to the Cateys and check very carefully you provide all the details for the Cateys category.

8. Edit your submission

Where appropriate, include items that have been in the media that support your entry and any relevant guest feedback, but resist the temptation to include press releases or internal marketing copy that is surplus to requirements.

Finally, check all spelling and grammar carefully. Ensure you ask other people to read your entry carefully so they spot any mistakes.

Good luck!

Enter the 2024 Cateys. Your entry must be submitted by 13 March 2024

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