How Traverse Award Winners are Determined

The following is a summary of the process through which Traverse Award recipients are selected.

  • KTIA management selects three volunteer judges who are highly respected tourism professionals with extensive industry experience. To provide for the judges' full objectivity, they are professionals located outside Kentucky. Also, their names are not disclosed nor do they disclose that they are Traverse judges. That confidentiality allows them to be 100% objective even if they happen to know organizations or individuals who have submitted entries. 
  • Following the final deadline for entry submission, judges are sent judging information and guidance, each entry, entry form, summary of entries form and score sheets. They have approximately 3.5 weeks to complete their judging. Along the way KTIA management team members are available to answer judges' questions.
  • The entries, as sent to the judges, are organized by the 13 categories (print advertising, digital, promotional video, etc.) and within the categories, they are organized by divisions (3 CVB divisions based on budget size; attractions, festivals & events; and hotels and restaurants). 
  • Judges do not arrive at their scores by comparing entries to each other. In other words, as they review entries they are not attempting to identify the best entry, second best, etc. (Ranking entries comes later in the process). Instead, within the category and division groupings, the judges evaluate and score each entry on its individual merits in relation to the judging criteria.
    • This is comparable to a teacher evaluating students' work on an essay assignment, with the teacher telling the students the key points – criteria – the essays need to address. In the scoring process, the teacher doesn’t evaluate each essay in comparison to the others, but rather on the extent to which and quality with which each essay addressed the key points.
  • The criteria for judging entries are as follows with scoring based on up to 25 points for each criterion for a total of 100 points possible: 
    • CONCEPT: What is the underlying concept and what are the goals and objectives it is intended to achieve? (Submitters will need to explain the concept and goals of the project.)
    • CREATIVITY: How contextually and visually creative and innovative was the project? What distinguishes the entry and makes it unique? (Submitters will need to describe the project in creative terms in regards to project design, development, implementation and as applicable, include elements of originality, innovation, graphic creativity.)
    • RESULTS/IMPACT: Was the project successful? What was the impact of the project, particularly in relation to the goal(s)? (Submitters will need to describe as specifically as possible what the project achieved and include quantified results to the extent possible. If the project does not have quantifiable results, be sure to include what impact was derived.)
    • OVERALL PROJECT IMPRESSION: Judge’s overall assessment of the project based on the combination of concept, creativity and results/impact. (Submitters should include any and all relevant information that might be important for the judges to consider.)
  • Judges submit their scores for each entry to the management team. The judges' scores are averaged for each entry and the averages for all entries are ranked from highest to lowest.
  • From the total list of ranked scores, Gold Awards are received by the top 10% highest scores, Silver Award recipients are the next highest 20% and Bronze are the next 30%. That means that 60% of entries receive an award and that 40% do not. 
    • To continue with the essay analogy, this is the same as grading on a curve where after the teacher gives each essay a numerical score. The scores are ranked and wherever each essay is within the ranking determines its letter grade.
  • All of the percentages are targets rather than absolutes because it is not unusual for there to be multiple entries that receive the same average score, and sometimes these "ties" can include a relatively large number of entries. The most reasonable break point, i.e., as close as practical to the target percentage among groups of ties, is determined, which can result in the stated percentages not being exactly met. There is never a case where ties are split in which, for example, some entries receive a Gold and others a Silver, even though their averaged judges' scores were the same.
  • A conference call is held with the judges during which they discuss and determine selections for the top tier awards such as Best in Show.