Salad Days at Dunster Beach, Dunster in Somerset has been awarded Bronze at this year’s Visit England Tourism Excellence Awards for Dog Friendly Business of the Year.
The awards, held annually, are the culmination of all of England’s regional Tourism Awards. To reach this stage all finalists have to have won at county and regional level first and need to be the best in their chosen field, businesses have to offer world-class service and excel in all areas. Brett Bates and Susan Juggins of Salad Days won Gold for Dog Friendly Business of the Year and Silver for Self Catering Business of the Year at the Bristol, Bath and Somerset Tourism Awards in November last year, then repeated the accolade at the South West Tourism Excellence Awards in February. They were then taken aback to find out that Salad Days had been nominated for the prestigious Visit England Awards last month “and now to have gone on to be awarded Bronze is just incredible,” said Brett.
“Dunster Beach has always been a little hidden part of Somerset, now to have been recognised on the national stage, we hope to have an even greater impact on tourism in the area and make people realise they can pull off the motorway in Somerset to sample some amazing, award-winning attractions, eateries and places to stay. We have had some fantastic exposure and hope to be able to bring some of our success back with us to benefit the whole area; we know our fellow beach hut owners will be as pleased with this award as we are, it helps put Dunster Beach on the map and it is no longer a hidden gem.”
The couple were first attracted to the awards because of the offer of free advice from tourism industry experts. As beginners themselves – Salad Days is only in its second year – Brett and Susan say they have learned so much and met some lovely people during the process; they would advise anybody to enter the awards and go on the courses offered. “Being in tourism can seem like a lot of hard work at times but to meet like-minded people via the awards process can be such a benefit to the business owner and their customers,” said Brett. “Our guests at Salad Days love the fact that we have won awards, but more importantly, they are the ones who feel the benefit of what we have learned. We have loved being able to introduce this part of Somerset and Exmoor to people who have never been here before, and the awards have helped us to be able to do just that.”
So what next? Brett and Susan are currently renovating their second beach hut, Holi Moli, to run alongside Salad Days. The aim is to learn from Salad Days’ success and improve upon what has been such a winning formula. Brett and Susan will both continue training and learning new skills, so watch this space, Holi Moli will be bringing colour to Dunster Beach and hopefully new guests to the area.