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Tue 31 Oct 2006 08:00 PM

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This is no time to eat humble pie

It's that time of year again when Hotelier Middle East recognises the unsung heroes of the region's hotel and hospitality industry.

The Hotelier Awards 2006, now in its third year,will take place at the Park Hyatt Dubai on November 12, and has proved more popular than ever across all 15 of the categories.

More than 1000 nominations had been made via the Hotelier web site by the close of play on October 15 and several more tried to get a piece of the action post-deadline.

Entries were generally of good quality and at times, so heartfelt and genuine, that the members of the ITP hospitality team charged with the task of short listing the many deserving entries, as well as the judging panel,were almost brought to tears.

As one of the judges, I have a number of points to make that I hope will ensure that the nomination process is even more successful next year.

Firstly, the panel of judges, (details of which can be found on page 42),was concerned that the variety of hotel groups represented was too limited and that some hotel companies were far more proactive than others when it came to making nominations.

It would be great to see a broader mix of hotels represented, from the smaller, boutique properties to the big chain names.We would also welcome more nominations from local and independent hotel companies.

Secondly, some of the nominations received provided too few details and despite showing tremendous promise,we were unable to shortlist them. In this respect, hotels and their employees are not doing themselves justice. In one instance, the judges contacted the hotel in question because we felt there was a great story to tell behind one of the very brief nominations.

We were right, there was a hero hiding in the closet in this particular establishment and when we queried why they hadn't better documented this employee's strengths and achievements, they replied that they did not like to shout about their attributes.

While such graciousness may be the policy of some hotel groups, particularly in Asia, this is no time for our region’s hoteliers to eat humble pie! The Hotelier Awards aim to find the real gems of the hotel industry and recognise the difference they make to their peers and their guests, so please, don't be shy! The judges also noted that the PR vehicles behind some hotel groups are far more proactive than others, providing reams of supporting material, however, this is not enough reason in itself to select their entries over others. It was the quality of the comments made online that we primarily took into consideration.

Next year,we hope to streamline the nomination process, presenting set criteria and a uniform online nomination form.Hotelier Middle East will be sure to keep you posted about these improvements.

In the meantime, on behalf of the judging panel, I would like to thank you all for taking the time and effort to nominate the stars of the hotel industry and we look forward to meeting you all on November 12.