The Ordinary Awards are an incredible event that showcases the immense talent working across Virginia’s hospitality industry, and we understand that this is an important opportunity for our partners around the state. 

To help make the nomination process as seamless as possible, we’ve put together some resources on how you can make the most out of your application, the awards itself, and the earned media opportunities that come along with it! Here are a couple of frequently asked questions to help guide you through the nomination process

Frequently Asked Questions:

The Ordinary Awards celebrate and honor all of Virginia’s restaurants, lodging establishments and hotels, DMOs, attractions, and more. They shine a light on the incredible restaurateurs, hoteliers, attractions, establishments, and employees that represent some of the best our industry has to offer. But there’s more than just a pat on the back and some hardware up for grabs! Here are some additional benefits from participating in the Ordinary Awards: 

    • Connect and network with industry colleagues and partners from across the state
    • Earned media opportunities for your organization/venue/business, as well as for your locality
    • Brand exposure and promotional opportunities leading up to, during, and after the event

Award Nominations are open to members and non-members of VRLTA.

Winners from the previous year (2023) are not eligible to submit a nomination for the same category in which they won. They may be submitted as a nomination for any other category.

There is no limit to the number of individuals that can be nominated; however, self-nominations are not allowed for individual awards. If you’re nominating more than one individual, separate nomination forms are required.

You are allowed to nominate the business/organization you are affiliated with for those relevant awards. 

The nomination timeline is outlined below: 

  • Nominations for the 2024 Ordinary Awards open on Monday, April 8
  • Award finalists will be notified by email in August
  • The 2024 Ordinary Awards will take place on Thursday, September 12 at the Richmond Marriott Downtown

Additional information on how to attend the event can be found here.

To nominate yourself, a peer, or a company for an award, please complete the official online nomination form. You’ll be asked to include the following information, so please make sure you have the following before beginning your nomination:
    • Name and contact information for yourself and your nominee.
    • The category for which you are submitting a nomination
    • A character statement (between 200-500 words) outlining what makes your nominee extraordinary
    • Up to five (5) supporting documents in support of your nominee.
    • Up to five (5) supporting photos/videos of your nominee to be used for awards marketing and presentation (JPEG, PNG, TIFF files accepted).

It’s difficult to paint a complete picture in under 500 words, so this is where you can help your nominee really shine. Your nomination should include supporting documents that bolster the credentials of your nominee. Here are a few ideas of what to include: 

    • A copy of your nominee’s resume or CV
    • Letters of recommendation
    • A collection of testimonials from customers, coworkers, or industry colleagues
    • Press coverage from your nominee
    • A collection of awards and/or accolades previously won by your nominee
    • Examples of your nominee’s previous work or projects

The Ordinary Awards and Awards finalists are heavily promoted leading up to, during, and after the event. To make the most out of the marketing and earned media efforts, it’s important that the supporting photos in your nomination are not only in high resolution, but compelling. Here are a few guidelines: 

    • A “hero image” for your nominee
        • For individuals, this means a recent, high-quality headshot.
        • For a business or organization, this means a property photo or identifying landmark
    • Images of your nominee “in action” (i.e. helping guests, on the job, training coworkers, etc.)
    • Images of your nominee at public-facing events (previous awards, ribbon cuttings, etc.)
    • Supporting elements key to your nominee’s success
        • For individuals, this could mean a property photo of where they work (hotel, restaurant, etc.)
        • For a business or organization, this could mean employees (head chef, manager, etc.) or community connections

Make Each Nomination Unique
If you’re submitting nominations for multiple awards, make sure each entry stands on its own merits. For example, if you plan to submit a nomination for Hotelier of the Year, Hotel Manager of the Year, Hotel Employee of the Year, and Hotel of the Year – try your best to include unique supporting documents for each entry as opposed to including a handful of general materials in all of them. 

Ensure All Supporting Documents are Easy to Ready
We would hate for one of our judges to miss something that was lost in translation. While press clippings and handwritten notes can be heartfelt and sentimental, scanned files or pictures of documents can be difficult to read. If there’s one you’d really like to include, consider attaching a typed transcription to the document as well!

If you there are any supporting materials you would like to submit hard copies of, you can mail them to the address below:

Virginia Restaurant, Lodging & Travel Association
5101 Monument Ave, Suite 206
Richmond, VA, 23230

*All materials must be received by VRLTA prior to the submission deadline of August 31. 

High-Quality Visuals are Important Too
They say pictures tell 1,000 words – so make them count! It’s really important to use high-resolution photos that are crisp, of appropriate file size, and tell a story. Avoid submitting any scanned images or anything of a non-image file type (PDF, PPT, etc.).

If you need help or additional guidance, please contact VRLTA Director of Marketing and Communications Ryan Trapp.

Consider Including a Video in Your Nomination
If a picture says 1,000 words, a video can spell out a novel. Video clips can go a long way in showcasing your nominee’s personality and impact. However, it’s important that video submissions provide additional context for your nominee and don’t just repeat the information included in your submission. And again – quality is key!

If you would like to include a video in your nomination, contact VRLTA Director of Marketing and Communications Ryan Trapp.

Check back for more information on how to attend the 2024 Ordinary Awards!

Now, it’s time to celebrate! Take advantage of the opportunity to keep the buzz going with promotional PR efforts and social media marketing. Here are a few ideas on how to capitalize on your recognition: 

    • A press release announcing your nominee’s win
    • A promotional video announcing award winners
    • Use professional images from the 2023 Ordinary Awards dinner taken by the event photographer
    • Graphics template for social media posts along with suggested messaging