Members’ Excellence Awards

The BGTW Members’ Excellence Awards (MEA) scheme recognises the very best work of members in travel writing, photography, blogging and broadcasting in a series of awards judged by UK and international travel industry professionals.

The categories are:

  • Best UK Travel Feature
  • Best Europe (non-UK) Travel Feature
  • Best Wider World Travel Feature
  • Best Short-Read Travel Feature
  • Best Transport Feature – The Kenneth Westcott-Jones Award
  • Best Travel Guidebook – The Adele Evans Award
  • BGTW Blogger of the Year
  • BGTW Broadcaster of the Year
  • BGTW Photographer of the Year
  • BGTW Writer of the Year

Members submit their best work for judging. The judging panel comprises a wide range of national and international travel editors, photographers, bloggers and broadcasters, including members of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) and the Australian Society of Travel Writers (ASTW).

In each category the judges look for a combination of creativity, originality and quality, identifying a shortlist of up to six entries in each category.

The shortlists are announced in early September. The winners are announced at the BGTW Annual Gala Awards Dinner that takes place at The Savoy hotel in central London at the start of November.

Members who have won awards in the past will attest to their value, especially relating to exposure and interest in their work by commissioning editors, PRs, DMOs and other tourism organisations interested in gaining destination and client exposure.

First things first. How to enter

  • Identify which category/categories you wish to submit an entry for and read the entry criteria.
  • Read the rules.
  • Make sure you submit your entry before the deadline. It is extremely helpful to the BGTW Secretariat if you don’t wait until the deadline!
  • The judging process endeavours to offer a level playing field to all members. This is done in two ways.
  1. Wherever possible, every effort is taken to check that the name identifiable elements of the member are removed before submitting that entry to the judges.
  2. The judges are briefed to focus on the quality of the content and how a feature, photo, blog or broadcast tells a story, enthuses or inspires, rather than focusing on how unusual a destination or topic might be. So, Poole Harbour can sit happily alongside Cuba.
  • Entry is by completing the online entry form and submitting supporting evidence as indicated. A separate form should be completed for each entry.
  • Please note that the responsibility to ensure that the entry form(s) is completed fully, and that all supporting evidence is supplied as shown, is the responsibility of the member submitting the entry. A failure to supply all information requested may mean the entry cannot be judged.
  • All entries and all supporting documents must be received by the Guild secretariat by 5pm on Friday 9 August 2019.

Step two. There are some general rules you should note

  • The closing date for entries is 5pm on Friday 9 August 2019.
  • Members may submit a maximum of one entry in each category.
  • Photographs, DVDs etc should be marked only with the membership number (on membership card) and the title/subject and NOT the name, address or other identifying mark of the member.
  • All entries must be in the English language.
  • For the purposes of these awards, Turkey, Ukraine, Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia are regarded as being part of Europe. The Russian Federation, and other countries of the former USSR, are regarded as part of the ‘Wider World’.
  • The BGTW Board reserves the right to cancel any award which has not received at least 6 qualified entries.
  • Please address queries about entering these awards to the Secretariat on 020 8144 8713 or by email to secretariat@bgtw.org

Step 3. Entry Criteria

Please read the following entry criteria for each category carefully.

Best UK Travel Feature, Best Europe (non-UK) Travel Feature, Best Wider World Travel Feature, Best Transport Feature – The Kenneth Westcott-Jones Award, Best Short-Read Travel Feature

  • The judges will be looking for creativity and originality in writing style and content.
  • Written features are articles published between 1 July 2018 and 1 July 2019 either for the consumer or trade press.
  • Publication means in print and online but not on a member’s own blog or social media.
  • Online means articles commissioned, published and paid for by websites or blogs, and self-published e-magazines and ebooks.
  • ‘Best Short-Read Travel Feature’ has a limit of 700 words and reflects work written for local and regional press etc. Fact boxes are not regarded as part of the word count and should not be included. Articles that have more than 700 words will not be accepted in this category.
  • All other feature awards have no limit.
  • A self-contained chapter written by a member for a published book can be submitted for any of the article awards. The book must be sent to the Secretariat.
  • Publications can be English outlets (in the English language) outside the UK.
  • No article may be submitted for more than one category, except for submissions for ‘BGTW Writer of the Year’ where a portfolio of four pieces of work is required.
  • The ‘Best Transport Feature – The Kenneth Westcott-Jones Award’ was created in memory of Kenneth Westcott-Jones, whose lifelong enthusiasm for transport worldwide was legendary. It is reserved for transport features, including news pieces on transport from development of new airport runways to railways. Entries can be of any length.
  • Articles should be submitted in their original and unedited form. The BGTW believes that this best reflects the ability of the Guild members.
  • All headers and footers should be deleted, as should any family names (of children, wives/partners), which might betray the author’s identity.
  • The award category for which the article is being entered should be shown at the top of the document along with your membership number. Contact the BGTW secretariat if you do not know your membership number.
  • The article should be presented in Arial font, 12pt. Lines should be double-spaced for ease of judging.
  • You must use the title as it appeared in the publication.
  • Please ensure the category name and your membership number are show at the top of the page.
  • Please also include the articles as published as proof of publication when submitting your form online (If you do not have access to a scanner, photocopies or originals will be accepted by post if accompanied with a clear note outlining what it is for).
  • Articles should be sent electronically via the online form as a word document or RTF.
  • Entries by hard copy cannot be accepted. The Secretariat is available to assist if you have technical difficulties.

Rules for ‘Best Travel Guidebook – The Adele Evans Award’ and ‘Best Narrative Travel Book’

Please note that ‘Best Narrative Travel Book’ is awarded biennially and will next appear in 2020.

  • Judges will be looking for clarity, originality and creativity in writing style.
  • Guidebook(s) should have been published between 1 July 2017 and 1 July 2019.
  • Please submit TWO copies via post to the Secretariat.
  • Books may be submitted for two consecutive years; however a winning book may not be re-entered. Members might approach their publishers to supply the entry copies.
  • If the book is multi-authored, please make clear which sections of the book have been written by the member making the submission.
  • If more than one Guild member has worked on a book, they may submit a joint entry for the award as long as it is made clear which sections of the book are written by each member.
  • If the book is not the sole work of a member, the individual contribution of the member should not be less than a full chapter. The book should be at least 18,000 words. Only new chapters of second editions are eligible.
  • If the member wishes to have the book(s) returned, they should clearly state this and provide a stamped self-addressed envelope/jiffy bag to be used for this purpose. Any books that are not returned will be deemed to have been donated to the Guild and made available for use as raffle prizes.

BGTW Blogger of the Year

  • The judges will be looking for a blog that reflects the distinctive personality of the author, while at the same time offering reliable and accurate travel information and inspiration. The blog should be visually appealing, easy to read/navigate, and invite interaction/engagement. It should be clear about its editorial position and transparent about sponsored travel and paid-for content.
  • The blog being submitted for judging must be original material and related to travel.
  • It should be primarily administered by the member submitting the entry. That member must have the freedom to decide editorial content, advertising, layout and social media updates.
  • If the member writes regularly for a website (even if it is called a blog) but has to adhere to guidelines laid down by someone else, and has no say on the other matters then this is not eligible for entry in this category.
  • The blog must have been published for at least a year, ending 1 July 2019, and have a readership of at least 2,000 visitors a month on average over the last year (as shown by Google Analytics or similar).
  • Members need to demonstrate they are eligible by providing:
  • the URL of the site that gives archive evidence showing that the blog has been published at least since 1 July 2018.
  • a screenshot of Google Analytics or similar showing an average of at least 2,000 visitors per month over the last year.
  • links to five articles from the blog during the year ending 1 July 2019, that the entrant wishes to bring to the judges attention.

BGTW Broadcaster of the Year

  • The judges will be looking for radio programmes, podcasts and other broadcasts that reflect the distinctive personality of the Guild member making the submission.
  • The broadcast should be light in tone but offering reliable and accurate travel information and inspiration.
  • Broadcasts should be easy to understand, informative, and invite interaction/engagement.
  • A broadcast should be clear about its editorial position and transparent about sponsored travel and paid-for content.
  • The broadcast being submitted for judging must be original material and related to travel.
  • The broadcast must have been aired during the period from 1 July 2018 to 1 July 2019.
  • The broadcast must be submitted as an audio or video file.

BGTW Photographer of the Year

  • A portfolio of four individual photographs should be submitted. They need not be linked thematically other than that of ‘travel’.
  • The judges will be looking for a combination of quality, creativity, composition and content.
  • Photographs should be contemporary, so taken in recent times and reflect the modern world.
  • Photographs must have been published between 1 July 2017 and 1 July 2019. It is noted that members may not know if their photos have been published, especially when submitted to commercial photo libraries. However, in all other categories of the MEA, entries have to be published to be valid for submission. In this category, to ensure a consistent approach across all categories, the BGTW Board has agreed that photographs submitted for this award must have been published, and evidence provided. (see below). The two-year window for publishing has been agreed following to make it easier for members to identify work that has been published.
  • Proof of publishing can be by a photocopy, actual copy or screen print of the photo, or by a notification of royalties or other confirmation that identifies the photograph(s) being entered. If in doubt, please ask the secretariat.
  • Previously winning photographs in the BGTW Photographer of the Year category may not be resubmitted.
  • Images must not have previously won any other competition.
  • Images published online on websites and blogs are accepted.
  • Permitted standard digital manipulation of entries is allowed including cropping, exposure, minor editing, sharpening etc. Manipulation of the main subject or montage is not allowed.
  • Actual photographs should be sent as hi-res JPEGs. Prints, transparencies or negatives cannot be accepted. 
  • Entries should be uploaded in zipped folders labelled with the member’s membership number ONLY and sent to secretariat@bgtw.org using WeTransfer or a similar file-sharing portal.

BGTW Writer of the Year

  • Members wishing to enter for this award should supply a portfolio of four articles published between 1 July 2018 and 1 July 2019.
  • There is no limit to the word count.
  • The articles must have been commissioned and may have been published in any magazine, newspaper or on the internet. Articles can be either for the consumer or trade press.
  • Articles entered in any other category of the MEA may also be used as part of a portfolio for the BGTW Writer of the Year award.

Step 4. Read this very carefully

  • The deadline for entries is 5pm on Friday 9 August 2019.
  • The deadline for entries is NOT Saturday morning, 10 August 2019!
  • Double check that you’ve completed all the sections on the entry form and have all the evidence and supporting information that the Secretariat, and the judges, will need.

Finally, if you have any questions please contact the Secretariat on 020 8144 8713 or email secretariat@bgtw.org

Good luck!

…. now it’s time to …

Get entering!