The 2019 Irish Tourism Industry Awards
The Irish Tourism Industry Awards (ITIAs) give recognition to and promote people, companies and organisations – overseas and at home – that have made significant contributions to developing, marketing, selling and delivering improved visitor experiences in Ireland and to increasing the number of visitors from overseas.
In particular, the Irish Tourism Industry Awards aim to:
- Publicly recognise and reward excellence
- Provide a benchmark for best practice
- Encourage the continuous raising of standards
- Provide better visitor experiences
- Emphasise the value of the tourism sector
- Promote a biennial platform of celebration
- Provide networking opportunities for operators and supporters
The Awards are organised by the Irish Tourism Industry Confederation (ITIC) and have been held at the Clayton Hotel, Burlington Road on a biennial basis since 2015, with further events held in 2017 and 2019. For each of these Awards Ceremonies, Advantage has won a competitive tender to be appointed the Event Management Company for the event.
The Awards were the brainchild of Brian McColgan, Chairman of the Abbey Group and the then ITIC CEO, Eamonn McKeon who both had the vision that despite being our largest indigenous industry, tourism deserved a high-level forum to reward excellence and innovation.
Advantage were represented by:
Ronan Flood, Managing Director with responsibility for:
- Project lead to include Client liaison and account management
- Event Production
- Event Content
- MC and AV crew briefing
- Live show calling
Sarah Durcan, Operations Director, with responsibility for:
- Event logistics
- Sponsor management
- Table plan
- Running order
- Theme and décor
- Pre and post Awards Entertainment
15 awards in 3 principal categories:
Best International Marketing Initiative
Best International Access Initiative
Best Wild Atlantic WayTourism Experience (Large & Small)
Best Ireland’s Ancient EastTourism Experience (Large & Small)
Best Ireland’s Hidden HeartlandsTourism Experience
Best DublinTourism Experience (Large & Small)
Best Festival / Event Experience
Best Food / Beverage Experience
Best Meet in IrelandBusiness Tourism Innovation
Best Environmental Tourism Innovation
Best Innovative Place to Stay
Best Entrepreneurial Tourism Innovation
Event Delivery and Execution
Entrants were recruited via an extensive eMarketing and Social Media campaign ran by ITIC with the extensive support of the organisations represented on the Steering Committee. Advantage devised the communications plan for the first edition of the ITIAs and it was so successful that it has been rolled out again for the 2017 and 2019 event. Extensive use of winner’s videos from the previous event as suggested by Advantage led to strong industry engagement, particularly on social media. Sponsors were recruited by ITIC with Advantage providing input into the benefits package and managing the sponsors to ensure they received the agreed return on investment.
The original closing date was extended on our advice as insufficient entries had been received. By doping so ITIC received over 300 entries for the 2019 event and this became the target audience to book tables and places at the Awards Dinner. The Steering Group then reviewed the entries and reduced the number to 5 finalists for each of the 15 categories.
The 75 finalists were contacted by Advantage in late Nov 2018 to submit hi res imagery and logos for use in the Event Content. All finalists received a “ITIA Finalists Laurel” to use in their email signatures in order to promote the event and to reward the finalists. The Judging Panel met in early Jan 2019 to select the winner in each category and were videoed with one judge providing a context statement for each category as to why they won. Advantage had just 2 weeks to finalise all event content and to an exceptionally high level.
“After winning a competitive tender, Advantage Group were chosen by the Irish Tourism Industry Confederation (ITIC) to event-manage the Irish Tourism Industry Awards that took place on February 1st 2019. The Awards were a high-profile event and showcased and celebrated excellence within Irish tourism with over 550 tourism leaders attending the gala banquet in the Clayton Hotel, Burlington Road, Dublin 4. There were 15 categories in total moderated by RTE’s Kathryn Thomas, including a Special Recognition Award for IAG CEO Willie Walsh, and the event included pre and post entertainment, speeches, and a high level of AV interpretation. Advantage managed the Awards in its entirety from pre-event planning through to budgeting and ticket-sales and event logistics.
Advantage ultimately reported to the ITIC Board and dealt with an industry steering group who met on a regular basis. In the lead-up to the Awards and on the night in question, Advantage displayed a high-level of professionalism , innovation, planning and carried out their work with skill, competence, creativity and experience. ITIC would have no hesitation in recommending Advantage Group as a partner for events”