Now in their third year, the Caterersearch.com Web Awards remain the only recognition of web innovation and online excellence for the whole hospitality industry.
They recognise the people and organisations responsible for developing some of the most effective hospitality websites on the internet today.
No longer is it a nice-to-have window into a business, online presence is now a prerequisite for every firm. With the web's growth as a marketing tool and social media's heightened status as a source of personal reviews and opinions, a savvy operator can really boost business with an innovative and coherent web strategy.
This year's Caterersearch.com Web Awards will recognise the best websites and online marketing strategies across the hospitality industry. Now open for entries we're looking for those businesses that have pushed the boundaries to engage with customers online and embrace new web techniques to tempt in trade.
Reflecting the fast pace of online change, this year Caterersearch.com has added two new categories: Best Use of Social Media and Blog of the Year, in recognition of the increasing importance of social media and blogs to hospitality businesses.
The Caterersearch.com Web Awards are open to all organisations and individuals involved in designing, managing, marketing or promoting websites for hospitality-related businesses.
Categories include: best group and best independent restaurant; best foodservice website; best pub or bar website; online marketing award; and best overall website.
Last year, Italian restaurant chain Strada was the big winner, picking up the title of Website of the Year. Part of Tragus Holdings, Strada won the best website in the Restaurant - group category, and was voted the overall winner by the users of Caterersearch.com.
Judges praised Strada's website (www.strada.co.uk) for its "slick, professional look". "It delivers all the information I would be looking for when trying to decide where to eat," one judge said.
So if you think you've got a dazzling website, blog or social media operation, let us know. To enter, potential winners should fill in an online entry form which asks for a brief description of the site, site access and traffic details, and a supporting statement of no more than 250 words. Any data must refer to the judging year July 2009 to July 2010.
Websites will be selected for recognition based on - but not limited to - excellence in the following criteria: visual design, innovation, content, interactivity, ease of use, commercial success or potential and overall user experience.
The judging panel will be made up of web specialists and industry operators. Judges will not be allowed to vote in any categories which cover their main category of business, or which their company or business partners have entered.
The Caterersearch.com Web Awards will take place virtually and there will not be a physical event - all the voting and the results for the awards will be announced online via www.caterersearch.com/webawards.
By entering the Caterersearch.com Web Awards, you are giving yourself and your company the chance to win the recognition you deserve. So, what are you waiting for?
Entry is by online submission only at www.caterersearch.com/webawards and the official deadline is Friday 3 September 2010. Entries include an admission charge of £95 plus VAT per entry.
1 Restaurant website - independent
Open to websites belonging to an independent restaurant business of three units or fewer, wholly owned and operated by its owner.
2 Restaurant website - group Open to any website belonging to a restaurant group operating at any market level. A group is defined as having four or more units.
3 Hotel website - independent Open to websites belonging to an independent hotel business of three units or fewer, wholly owned and operated by its owner.
4 Hotel website - group Open to any website belonging to a hotel group operating at any market level. A group is defined as having four or more units.
5 Food service website Open to websites belonging to any contract caterer, in-house catering operation or events caterer. They may be servicing any sector of the foodservice industry, from business and industry to education, healthcare to institutional catering.
6 Pub or Bar website Open to websites belonging to pub and/or bar groups, or individual pubs and bars of any size, and operating at any market level.
7 Equipment Supplier website Open to websites belonging to suppliers (both manufacturers and distributors) of equipment to hospitality businesses.
8 Food or Drink Supplier website Open to websites belonging to suppliers of food and drink to hospitality businesses.
9 Recruitment website Open to recruitment consultancies that predominantly serve the UK hospitality industry, or to direct employers that have developed websites to meet their own recruitment requirements.
10 Online Marketing Award Awarded to online products, services or websites that incorporate an imaginative use of online marketing channels. This could form part of a stand alone campaign or a fully integrated campaign utilising both online and offline marketing channels.
11 Best use of social media Awarded to the organisation most effectively using social media to benefit their brand. This could include social networking using sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, blogging, using YouTube, Flickr and any other method.
12 Blog of the Year The Blog Award is open to UK-based bloggers who write about, promote and generate discussion about the hospitality industry in the UK.
13 Website of the Year The winner of the overall Caterersearch.com Website of the Year will be chosen from the shortlisted entries from the other 12 categories and voted for by the users of Caterersearch.com, the award judges and the senior editors of Caterer and Hotelkeeper and Caterersearch.com.
By Katherine Alano
If you have any questions regarding the Web Awards, please e-mail Katherine Alano here.
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