The Travel Media Awards has been refreshed this year, with a new category and updated criteria. To find out the thinking behind some of the changes, read a special Q&A with our advisory panel.

Maria Pieri

Maria Pieri, Editorial Director, APL Media

This year’s Travel Media Awards includes a category for Sustainable Travel. What are you looking for from writers?
Engaging storytelling that brings to the fore a subject or issue in the area of sustainable travel that we were perhaps unaware of. It could be a narrative where the writer becomes involved with, or enlightened by, the topic, or it could be a focus piece on what a destination, person or company is doing that captures the real heart of a project or initiative. Sustainability is such a burning issue for the industry — and while Covid-19 might have put a halt on travel for now, we’re aware that once it starts up again, the issue of sustainability will still be key.

How do you keep the Awards current and relevant?
The Advisory Board reviews the event, the categories, the entries and the feedback we receive from the media and industry, meeting regularly to discuss issues and areas for improvement. We also look outside the travel industry and have brought on board new judges across all areas of the media landscape.

Why should people enter these Awards?
In this new no-travel world brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, it seems ever more important to celebrate the sometimes-undervalued travel media industry. We have very talented individuals working in our industry and the Awards allow us to give them well-deserved recognition.

Jules Ugo

Jules Ugo, Managing Director, Lotus

Which of last year’s winners stood out for you, and why?
Can I pick two? They’re both deserving winners and fantastic women. Michelle Jana Chan, who won Consumer Writer of the Year and, of course, Hilary Bradt, who won the Special Contribution Award — a total inspiration.

How do you keep the Awards current and relevant?
The categories are revised annually, with changes made to reflect the current climate. Each year, new judges are brought in to ensure a fresh perspective and a 360-degreee view.

What makes the Travel Media Awards stand out from other awards?
The Travel Media Awards stand out due to their rigorous judging process. This, combined with the high level of entries, means winning is a real feat and an acknowledgement of talent and hard work. The awards night itself is a key moment in the calendar and a who’s who of travel — it’s one not to be missed.

Debbie Flynn

Debbie Flynn, Managing Partner, The Brighter Group

This year’s Travel Media Awards includes a category for Sustainable Travel. What are you looking for from writers?
More and more, we’re seeing an increase in the number of features looking at how to travel sustainably, including those with a focus on UK getaways and those highlighting rail travel in Europe, which is fantastic. What’s also interesting to see, though, is writers highlighting how holidaymakers can continue to travel overseas to mid- and long-haul destinations while keeping sustainability at the fore. Countries all around the world rely heavily on tourism, and it’s important that Brits continue to support those communities built on tourism, albeit in a more sustainable way. It could be highlighting major strides that destinations and hotels groups are making, or focusing on smaller initiatives at a local level — all of this helps to educate consumers to make more sustainably-conscious travel decisions.

Which of last year’s winners stood out for you, and why?
Hilary Bradt was the deserved winner of the Special Contribution Award. The Bradt Travel Guides have been a firm favourite in our family for decades, having often been the first to cover emerging destinations that have since grown in popularity. Plus, they’ve always championed sustainable travel.

Why should people enter these Awards?
The coronavirus pandemic has had a huge impact on the travel industry this year, and everyone involved in our sector has been affected. While times are difficult, it’s important to look ahead to when the travel industry will bounce back. Travel writers are playing a vital role in inspiring holidaymakers to book once the time is right, and we need to recognise the great travel journalism that’s continuing throughout this time. At the Awards in October, looking back on what will have been a tough year will be a special occasion and I encourage all travel writers to submit their great work, especially in 2020.

Jonathan Sloan

Jonathan Sloan, Marketing and Public Relations Specialist

This year’s Travel Media Awards includes a category for Sustainable Travel. What are you looking for from writers?
It’s an exciting step to introduce this new category for 2020. Writers need to really dig deep on this subject to be considered — they’ll need to show they’ve educated their readers on how to travel in a sustainable way, leaving a positive impact on the people, environment and culture of the destination visited.

Which of last year’s winners stood out for you, and why?
Hats off to Amelia Duggan for picking up two big awards on the night: Young Writer of the Year and Specialist Travel Writer of the Year — two very competitive categories. Being shortlisted is a huge achievement but to win two is outstanding.

What makes the Travel Media Awards stand out from other awards?
The time and effort that goes into making these awards the best in the business, coupled with the actual event that’s so well attended by the leading members of the travel industry.

Rachel O'Reilly

Rachel O’Reilly, Head of Communications, Kuoni

What makes the Travel Media Awards stand out from other awards?
There are lots of awards in the travel industry celebrating the best destinations, travel companies, airlines and hotels, but this is the one that turns the tables and recognises creativity, originality and talent in travel media across all sectors, from trade titles to consumer pages and from broadcasters to photography.

Why should people enter the awards?
Winning — or being shortlisted for — awards can be career-defining. It gives the work you’re doing that extra recognition. Winning awards can help your section get noticed, result in new commissions and increase the number of viewers. But hopefully, more than anything, being shortlisted gives anyone working in travel media the professional pride that the work they’re doing is industry-leading.

Which of last year’s winner stood out for you, and why?
Pictures should be celebrated as much as words and, for me, Jonathan Gregson’s work has been outstanding. He’s been a worthy winner in the Photographer of the Year category for a couple of years now. There’s so much texture, atmosphere and beauty in his work.