The AHA Awards or Excellence are the industries most prestigious awards held in each state & territory across the country leading up to the national awards in Sydney.
This year’s awards dinner was held at the Entertainment Centre, which can I add, after its extensive renovation took us all by surprise. The staff’s attention to detail and ability to make us feel like we were only one of 10 tables, instead of 1 of 60 tables was outstanding. An overall excellent experience and a credit to their management and recruitment teams!
Anyway, back to the awards. We were initially awarded Best Bar Presentation & Service followed by Best Outdoor or Non-Enclosed Facility. Then the award I have worked all year for, we won Best Marketed Hotel – General Division and the icing on the cake was SA’s Best Overall Hotel. An award I didn’t think would have as much impact on the following days as it did.
Through tweeting through the awards, we received over 120 mentions of congratulations, RT’s & encouragement. The next few days saw 100’s of messages & mentions through Twitter, Facebook & email. Not to mention the phone calls and visits from reps, guests and clients. Every message was congratulatory, comments like “you deserved it this year”, “it couldn’t have gone to anyone else”, “it’s a pleasure to work with SA’s best team!”.
It was on Wednesday when Adelaide Now published the article headlining us ‘SA’s Best Pub’ and listing awards won by other SA hotels. The article mentioned our ‘funky’ design and several attributes leading to us winning the award. It was the comments from the public that took us by surprise.
Why weren’t all these people happy for us?
Did Adelaide Now’s branding of ‘Pub’, when the award we won was ‘SA’s Best Overall Hotel’ make all the difference?
A hotel in SA is a multi-faceted venue, normally offering multiple dining styles, function rooms, bars & betting facilities. Which is not 100% true of Wiki’s pub or public house definition. The comments discredited us as SA’s Best Pub, accused us of using profits from other hotel’s gaming rooms to fund our renovations and many disgruntled comments about our renovation being one of many adding ‘bling’ to previously nice suburban pubs.
Thursday was the day all the good news really hit home. We had guests lined up at our doors before opening time, our bistro was full, the phones were ringing hot and the bar and bistro trade almost doubled. It seemed everyone wanted to experience SA’s Best Overall Hotel. I can’t remember how many times I’ve heard “we’ve meant to come to the HWY for ages but never got around to it, I suppose we’d better now you’ve won all these awards” when taking dinner reservations.
It’s not like we’ve been overly secretive about it either though. Our Twitter bio and Facebook tag have both changed, the prominent sign at the front of the hotel boasts thanks and praise to our staff. Add this to banners on the side of the building, inside the venue and on the website to say much of the same and you’d be hard pressed not to know about our success.
Who would’ve thought so many people would come out of the woodwork to show their appreciation for our hard work and to experience our product and service that made us SA’s Best Overall Hotel?
We’ve always won awards at the annual awards dinner but not this many & none have had the same impact as this year’s success. So why this time? Not that we can complain 🙂
PS. follow #AHAnationals to find out how we go in the National AHA Awards for Excellence in Sydney on September 12th!