Destination specialists Go To Places, who deliver Visit Herts, launched the first ever Herts Tourism Awards in August and invited big and small businesses to nominate themselves for an accolade. The scheme was all about motivating tourism businesses to create compelling experiences and adopt best practice. It rewarded exceptional standards of customer service and outstanding overall visitor experiences.
Following an initial round of judging by an expert panel comprised of tourism professionals appointed for their extensive experience and knowledge of the tourism industry, Knebworth House was selected as a finalist for the Big Day Out Award (Large Visitor Attraction of the Year), alongside Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter and Lee Valley White Water Centre.
This was taken onto a public vote, where the finalists’ own efforts to encourage their loyal followers and local communities to get involved was supported by an extensive digital and radio marketing campaign. As a special incentive – and to help more people experience the best of Hertfordshire’s tourism destinations for themselves – anyone who voted was automatically entered into a prize draw to win four fantastic days out at some of the county’s best loved attractions. The following weeks saw tens of thousands of votes cast across the seven categories in both Hertfordshire and Kent.
With the winners of each category being kept highly confidential, all the finalists attended an award ceremony at London’s Theatre Royal, Drury Lane to eagerly await the results as to who would be presented with the envied title.
Martha Lytton Cobbold presented the Visit Herts awards in her vole as Vice Chair, but as her family home was a finalist for the Big Day Out Award, it was deemed best for Destinations Partnership Director, David Curtis-Brignell, to announce the winner. Being the true showman that he is, David kept the audience in suspense as he made observational humour about “how frustrating it is when TV shows keep stalling for time when announcing results of the public vote”, the irony being that he was stalling for time himself.
Just as the tension neared unbearable levels, David named Knebworth House as the winner of the Big Day Out Award 2017. Matt Smith, the PR & Marketing Executive at Knebworth House, collected the award on behalf of the attraction.
Matt Smith told us “It was a true surprise that we were named the winners given how we were up against very strong competitors with huge fan bases and £multi-million budgets. Knebworth House is a small, family-run business with a modest budget, but the team always strives for excellence and it is lovely to receive recognition for this. We would like to wholeheartedly thank everyone that supported us in the public vote.”
The award-winning Knebworth House reopens to the public on 24th March 2018. In the meantime, Knebworth Barns have the Christmas Party Nights, and Bride: The Wedding Show, and the popular Muddy Mayhem returns 17th March to raise money for Garden House Hospice Care.