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Research & Judging

Enhancements for 2020

We’re delighted to enhance this year’s judging process to ensure the awards are fully researched, accurate and up-to-the-moment. The main changes are a more flexible timeframe for research and a return to targeted expertise in assessment. Results will appear more widely in printed and social media.

Researchers and Judges (meet the team) are highly experienced, bringing an array of specific expertise we target appropriately.


Each hotel or accommodation is different, and we treat every property individually.

In general, most properties first receive a Research Visit, when we fully catch-up with all developments, meet and / or interview key people / nominees and prepare a full report, looking at all operational areas, and prepare a new annual website review.

At this stage we can ensure that the hotel is in the best categories for the year and that the awards are approaching the entry from the most appropriate angles. Businesses can chose categories on the entry form - but we can later refine this.

From the Research Visit, we usually decide the next steps in the process – depending on the size and complexity of the business, we may target one or several Judging Visits.

National overview and quality control check: the Chairman and Deputy Chairman will visit and / or speak with all entrants to ensure that each property is fully happy with the way their business has been researched.

As the scheme incorporates businesses from B&Bs to international resort hotels, it is flexible and adaptable – always deploying appropriately skilled researchers and judges.


Research Visits start annually in November and can take place at any point up to the end of February prior to the Awards Night Dinner – the last Sunday of April. This means we’re right up-to-date with seasonal developments.

Judging Visits, which almost always follow Research Visits, can take place at any point by arrangement with the property within the November – March period.

On March 31st, the Annual Judging Summit takes place in Edinburgh and when all results are finalised so we can prepare for the big Annual Awards Gala.


On April 7th 2020 the list of Finalists in each Establishment Category will be revealed.


At the Annual Awards Dinner on Sunday April 26th 2020 all Regional Winners will be announced. Each category will be revealed in sequence on the big night, with Regional Winners announced, and then, from these top achievers, the National Winner of the category will be presented onstage.

Regional Winners at the Awards Dinner will be presented with their certificate at a separate area during the event. Those not present will have their certificate mailed.


The national title returns and is chosen from the National Winners of all categories.


People are at the very heart of the Scottish Hotel Awards.

The full Research and Judging Process will always bring additional exceptional individuals to our attention, and hotels and accommodation members can directly nominate individuals in two phases, Winter and Spring.


Certificates are issued in two phases this year to People of Excellence Nominees.


During the Research and Judging Visits phase we will meet and / or research Nominees.

Based on this research and our years of industry background knowledge of key individuals - each Regional Winner in the People of Excellence awards will be selected at the Annual Judging Summit.

From these successful entrants, Judges will select the National Winners who will be presented onstage at the Annual Awards Dinner on Sunday April 26th.

Regional People of Excellence Winners at the Awards Dinner will be presented with their certificate at a separate area during the event. Those not present will have their certificate mailed.


If at any time during the Research and Judging Phase an entrant has news or questions for the team, please just drop a note to the Chairman, Gary McLean Quin, at HospitalityResearch@live.co.uk or the Membership Manager, Moira Gilchrist, at moirag@scottishhotelawards.com and either or both will be very happy to assist.


For Regional Winners, these are the areas of Scotland we look at separately:

1. Argyll & Lomond

Argyll, Dunbartonshire

2. Borders

Scottish Borders

3. Central & Fife

Clackmannanshire, Falkirk,

Perth & Kinross

4. City of Edinburgh

5. Glasgow

6. Clyde

Inverclyde, Lanarkshire,


7. The Lothians

East Lothian, Midlothian,

West Lothian

8. Highlands


9. Islands

All islands from the Clyde

estuary to Inner Hebrides,

Na h-Eileanan Siar, Orkney

& Shetland Islands

10. North East

Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire,

Banffshire, Dundee City,

Kincardineshire, Moray

11. South West

Ayrshire, Dumfries & Galloway


This year’s Categories for Places and People of Excellence have been slightly enhanced for the season and are available here from late February 2020.