Changes to ARVC’s 2021 Awards of Excellence will Bring a Fresh Perspective
Nominations for All ARVC Awards of Excellence Due September 13
ARVC’s annual Awards of Excellence are designed to honor and recognize ARVC member-parks and individuals for their commitment to going above and beyond in serving their guests in the outdoor hospitality industry.
There are several categories of awards. For the Park of the Year category, one award is given in four park size categories:
- 100 sites or less (Small)
- 101-250 sites (Medium)
- 251-499 sites (Large)
- 500 or more sites (Mega)
A Plan-It Green award is also presented for each park category to recognize these parks’ leadership, innovation and commitment to running a green park.
Additionally, there are several awards that go to individuals who have made significant commitments and contributions to the outdoor hospitality industry and to the ARVC Foundation. These awards include the Campground Partner of the Year, Chairman’s Award, Pioneer Award, Stan Martin Award and the Herb Strauss Award.
All nominees for the Awards of Excellence must submit a detailed nomination form and there will be an important change this year in the judging process. Park of the Year winners from the 2019 and 2020 seasons will serve as judges in their respective categories, which will provide a fresh perspective since these park owners are intimately familiar with the application process and know what it takes to operate an award-winning park. The park professionals who serve as judges will be ineligible to nominate their own parks for the 2021 awards.
“We have so many outstanding parks in the country and this change to the awards program was proposed to allow us to highlight more parks in the public eye and get them the exposure they deserve,” says Joe Moore, the chair of ARVC’s Awards of Excellence Subcommittee that oversaw the updates to the awards program. “It encourages more parks to apply for the Park of the Year Award and opens the competition, as it is about comparing the best of the best parks and seeing which park stands out.”
Being named an Awards of Excellence recipient provides parks and businesses an excellent opportunity to tout accomplishments and highlight their commitment to excellence. Winning one of these prestigious awards will help a business earn peer recognition and promote the quality of the park to campers on a local and national basis.
“It’s an honor well worth pursuing, says Gary Quigley, CPO, owner of ARVC member-park Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park at Kozy Rest in Harrisville, Pa., and five-time winner of the ARVC Park of the Year award. “It has helped on so many levels! It motivates our returning staff and new staff to try to continue to accomplish the goal of being the best possible campground that we can be as a team from both the service excellence side and making sure the facilities are always outstanding. It has also been huge to be able to advertise it on our brochures and website to generate interest in seeing what makes us a four-time winner of the most prestigious industry award. I also believe it has made some of our guests even more loyal being able to say they camp at the five-time Park of the Year!”\
A past winner of an ARVC Small Park of the Year in 2012 when he managed The Vineyards Campground & Cabins, Moore knows the value that winning the awards brings to your park, both in prestige and marketing power.
“Everyone wants to stay with a winner, and you can leverage that in your marketing to really benefit your park,” says Moore.
There are two things you can do to help make sure your nomination application is as strong as it can be:
- Be as descriptive as possible. For example, instead of simply stating your park has a strong commitment to customer service, describe the specific training and programs you have put into place at your park to achieve that goal.
- Support your statements. Upload photos, videos, employee and/or camper interviews, and/or PDF documents that can really help bring your park to life for the judges.
Nomination forms for all categories are now available on arvc.org/awards. All nominations are due by September 13 and it’s perfectly acceptable to nominate your own park. Good luck! Award winners will be announced at the 2021 Outdoor Hospitality Conference & Expo (OHCE) which will take place in Raleigh, N.C. on November 8-11.