Travel Alberta

Tourism Red Deers Red Hat Awards revamped

Have you been served a particularly good meal lately, or been dazzled by a local event? Tourism Red Deer wants you to pull out a smartphone, camera or even an old-fashioned pen and paper, and record it for posterity — and perhaps a $1,000 weekend. 

The not-for-profit society announced on Friday that it is revamping its long-standing Red Hat Awards, which recognize customer service in a variety of categories. Previously chosen on the basis of a ballot system, with nomination forms available at places like hotels, restaurants and stores, finalists for the awards will now be selected as a result of first-person submissions. 

An information brochure will be posted at locations around the city, said Tourism Red Deer executive director Liz Taylor. “It will ask people to tell us about — either with a story, video or picture, because everybody’s got their phones with them — great accommodation; an event, attraction or festival; dining or food; or recreation.” 

The awards, renamed the Red Hat Experience Awards, will be presented in four categories. The best product or experience, and the best customer service, will be recognized in each of those categories.

The person who submits the entry judged the best will receive a $1,000 package, which will include accommodation, meals and activities. Taylor said the package will be customized to meet the preferences of the winner.

Stories, videos and pictures received by Tourism Red Deer may be used to market the region, she said, but that wasn’t the motivation for the contest. Instead, the objective is to reward great products and service. The new process should allow tourists and others to single out attractions and activities that might have been missed under the old ballot process, said Taylor. “Something like Discovery Canyon would never be recognized in the old system.”

Submissions for the Red Hat Experience Awards will be accepted until September 1, with the winners to be named in October. Additional information, including instructions for submitting entries, can be found on the Tourism Red Deer website.

By Harley Richards - Red Deer Advocate

Tourism Red Deer - Red Deer Visitor and Convention Bureau