The Experientialist® Awards return

A couple of years back – at the height of the global pandemic – we launched The Experientialist® Awards. The idea was simple: a not-for-profit, philanthropy-driven awards programme to recognise and applaud the luxury brands and people from across our big and beautiful world that have delivered truly OutThere initiatives, ingenious and innovative ideas, original and dynamic campaigns, unparalleled leadership and community-first approaches in luxury and experiential travel. For an added feel-good factor, we also recognised the very best in OutThere experiences, particularly those rooted in our core values of diversity, discovery and discernment.

The response was overwhelming: hundreds of worthy entries and nominees from all corners of the world took part. We brought together a diverse and inclusive panel of Experientialist® judges – travel editors, journalists and content creators – experts in luxury and experiential travel, who helped us discern the shortlists. Then, of course, we put it out to OutThere travellers to make the final decision.

We showcased all the winners editorially, telling their extraordinary stories through the voices of our Experientialist®s in our Experientialist Issue. Our hearts were warmed by the tales of deep dedication to putting people firmly ahead of profits; of boundary-pushing pioneers who are redefining what it means to be global citizens; of celebrated living and the very best in culture, sophistication and hedonism.

We were thrilled to be able to give back, awarding each category winner(s) an advertising package prize worth GBP£15,000 / USD$20,000 each, which we’re pleased to say has gone a long way to helping them build back after the pandemic. All the initiatives that were shortlisted were extremely worthy and we know that even for those who didn’t take away the top prize, the exposure alone helped them raise much-needed awareness for their projects.

Watch how your entry donations have benefitted the Shinta Mani Foundation in the Cardamom Rainforest of Cambodia.

We were also thrilled to have raised GBP£5,000 / USD$6,500 in cash from generous entry donations, that went to the winners of the Most OutThere initiative in community, conservation and sustainability. It was shared between two amazing initiatives, Ride4Rangers and the Shinta Mani Foundation at Shinta Mani Wild.

And we’re thrilled to say that, due to popular demand, we are back! This edition of The Experientialist® Awards will build on the success of the last and recognise all that is amazing about luxury and experiential travel today… its innovation, inclusivity, creativity, stewardship and resilience. We can’t wait to receive your entries!

Hugs,

Uwern Jong & Martin Perry
Founding Experientialist®s, OutThere

ENTRY DEADLINE: Wednesday 11th October 2023

Email us to enquire about, or sponsor this edition of our awards

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The Experientialist® Awards categories

Most OutThere travel brand

This category recognises revolutionary, mindful and forward-looking travel brands of all sizes and geographies – from hotels and resorts; to travel designers and tour operators; to cruises and experiences; to destination brands – that demonstrate unrivalled and holistic innovation, inclusivity, creativity and excellence across all aspects of their operations, linked specifically to OutThere’s core values of diversity, discovery and discernment.

Most OutThere champion

People make travel. We have always held in great esteem the leaders in luxury and experiential travel – both individuals and collectives – who through stewardship, creativity, innovation and tenacity have driven market-defining experiences and initiatives. They are role models and inspirations for their team members, defy the odds and deliver excellence in personalisation, diversity and inclusion, and guest experience. They can be hoteliers, tourism business owners, guides, rangers, ship captains, tourism ministers, heads of destination marketing organisations, or leaders and rising stars in travel operations, sales, communications and PR. Whoever they are, they should be pushing the boundaries and redefining the status quo of luxury travel.

Most OutThere initiative in inclusive travel

OutThere has always been the leading voice of inclusivity and intersectionality in luxury and experiential travel, representing travellers who seek a heightened level of personalisation and belonging when they head out into the world: simply because of who they are, how they identify, who they’re travelling with and who they love. We’re also all about amplifying the stories of minorities in the travel space, who are creating or are part of unique and visionary adventures that celebrate and bring to life the history and richness of their communities. This category honours the travel brands, destinations and experiences that are making a difference in this regard and are truly dedicated to personalisation, inclusivity and diversity in their work.

Most OutThere initiative in community, conservation and sustainability

Social responsibility continues to be a core pillar for many of today’s luxury travel brands, encouraging travellers to journey with purpose and not just be conscious about where they travel, but also how they travel, why and who with. We have always believed that travel should – as much as possible – be regenerative, ‘give back’ or have a sense of ‘greater good’. It is heartwarming to see so many brands create initiatives that foster a deep and empathetic understanding of humanity, nature and sustainable custodianship, and garner support for them from their guests, travellers and the public at large. This category commends and rewards the very best social responsibility projects in community, conservation and sustainability, related to mindblowing travel experiences and true to OutThere’s core values.

*The winning project for the Most OutThere initiative in community, conservation and sustainability will be the recipient of proceeds collected from entry donations.

The OutThere awards

In addition, we are thrilled to showcase six additional Experientialist Awards categories that celebrate the luxury travel brands, that like us, are rooted in diversity, discovery and discernment. Linked to the six OutThere’s traveller profiles, we are looking for hotels, resorts, cruises, experiences, journeys and itineraries that are not just stellar, but also transformative.

*These categories will be shortlisted by a panel of judges and then voted on by OutThere subscribers.

The Sophisticate award
Luxurious, taste-making, out-of-this-world properties, journeys and experiences.

The Escapist award
Brands and journeys that celebrate ‘getting away from it all’, wellbeing and peace of mind.

The Culturalist award
Brands with culture at their heart, not just limited to the Arts, but also the local community and destination that they’re in.

The Adventurer award
Brands with a sense of adventure and discovery, that gets travellers into the great outdoors and pushes their boundaries.

The Hedonist award
Simply indulgent, mindblowing properties and experiences rooted in fun and celebration.

The Insider award
Brands centred all around ‘being in the know’ – otherwise hard to access, but made available because of the brand’s innovation, creativity and connections.

Featured image: photography by Martin Perry, shot on location at Glen Artney, Scotland, special thanks to Gleneagles.

To enter

We welcome any luxury travel brand (and the people behind them) to enter the awards: from hotels, resorts and spas, to private air tours, cruises, and trains; travel designers and companies, tour operators and DMCs; to tourist boards and destination marketing organisations. We’d also welcome collaborative entries (for example, a travel company + property, cruise line + individual), so do consider how partnering up could enhance your entry. Brands are welcome to enter more than one category.

We ask that you consider the OutThere traveller and their needs and wants when making your entry – diversity and inclusion being something that greatly underpins their decision – alongside a boundless sense of discovery and a high level of discernment.

Each individual entry will require a donation of GBP£100 / USD$130. If you are entering from the UK, this fee does not include VAT, which will be added on at an additional 20%. An invoice for your donation will be automatically generated and emailed to you.

The proceeds from donations will go to the winner of the ‘Most OutThere initiative in community, conservation and sustainability’ category.

The entry procedure is simple. Click below to download the entry pack.

In this pack, you will see self-explanatory, standardised, individual entry forms, with strict word limits and specific entry requirements per category.

Do not include any images or try to get creative with copy point sizes (as we said, strict word limits!) on the form. The judges will make their decision on the strength of your written submission, not what it looks like. There will be an opportunity on the form to attach a link to further, supporting documents.

A hot tip. The judging panel (find out who judged the last edition) will be made up of a group of expert storytellers: editors, journalists and content creators. Tell a story and write your best, inspirational pitch! Get to your point quickly, tell us why you think your entry stands out above the rest and why it deserves to win. Be imaginative and distinctive to ensure you catch our attention. Inspire us to learn more about your entry.

Once you have completed your entry(ies), save it(them) in the file name (.doc, .docx and pdf only) and format it(them) as detailed on the form to your computer, mobile device or server. Then return to the website and load the Submit Your Entry page.

Then select how many entries you are submitting (how many documents you are uploading) and click ADD TO ORDER.

Complete your billing details in full (these details generate the automated invoice, so please fill them in carefully). Then, upload your entries (no more than 10Mb in total, please!).

Make your payment by credit card and PLACE ORDER.

That’s it! You will receive a confirmation of your order and an automated invoice will be attached.

Find out who won and was nominated in the last edition of the Experientialist® Awards >

Order a copy of the Experientialist® Issue to see the editorialised winners and nominations in full >

The closing date for submissions is strictly WEDNESDAY, 11th OCTOBER 2023.

The shortlist will be announced shortly after and the winners featured in our Winter Issue (December 2023 / January 2024).

Good luck! Any questions please contact: awards@outtheremagazine.com

Featured image: photography by Charl Marais, on location in Cape Town, South Africa.

The Experientialist® Awards winners

A huge congratulations to all our winners and finalists from the last edition. There were hundreds of fabulous and worthy entries this year and the quality of entries was extremely high. Our panel of esteemed judges worked extremely hard to take six OutThere brands through in each category. The four “Most OutThere” award winners were selected by a panel of handpicked judges. The winners of the six OutThere awards categories were voted by OutThere readers.

The prize for each category winner will be a GBP£15,000 / USD$20,000 print/online display advertising package. Where there are joint winners, the prize will be shared. The winners of the ‘most OutThere initiative in community, conservation and sustainability’ will share the GBP£5,000 / USD$6,500 proceeds of the donations made by entrants.

The following four categories award the luxury and experiential travel brands that have demonstrated unparalleled excellence during the COVID pandemic.

Most OutThere travel brand

Winner: Belmond

Belmond has always been a good-time brand that exists to connect its guests to taste-leading experience makers. But this past year it was heartwarming to see the brand up its high-brow entertainment to nourish our wanderlust and keep the dream of travel alive.

Finalists:

Carrier

Cookson Adventures

Out Adventures

Quinta do Lago

Six Senses

Most OutThere campaign

Winner: Six Senses – At home with Six Senses

From meditation experts in beatific Bhutan to gut-health nutritionists in fairytale Fiji, wellbeing leaders Six Senses remained dedicated to feeding their loyal fans with inspiring ways to live life to the fullest from home and to approach the lockdown mindfully.

Finalists:

Reignite your love for travel – ACCOR

Beyond the clouds, there is always light – JNTO

#InThePink – The Langham Hotels & Resorts

NIZUC at home – NIZUC Resort & Spa

Reconnect with the world – Tahiti Tourisme

Most OutThere champion

Winner: Robert Sharp, Out Adventures

Putting the needs and concerns of travellers and the LGBTQ+ community first – particularly during the pandemic – has always been at the forefront of what Canadian group tour leaders Out Adventures – owned by Robert Sharp – is all about.

Finalists:

Calum Franklin & Nokx Majozi – Rosewood London

Georgie Davidson – Boschendal

John Roberts – Anantara

Malik Fernando – Resplendent Ceylon

Roque Sevilla – Metropolitan Touring

Most OutThere initiative in community, conservation and sustainability

Joint winners: Bill Bensley & The Shinta Mani Foundation and Ride4Rangers

Bill Bensley and the Shinta Mani Foundation
Ride4Rangers

When it comes to protecting wildlife and the communities around it, Bill Bensley’s Shinta Mani Foundation and Ben Morison’s Ride4Rangers have both gone the extra mile, by increasing the intensity of their work, or finding new ways to fund their projects.

The Shinta Mani Foundation and Ride4Rangers will share the £5,000 collected from entry donations to further fund their projects.

Finalists:

Abercrombie & Kent Philanthropy

ACCOR – All Heartist Fund

Six Senses – Give Rice

Sol y Luna Foundation

The following six categories for the Experientialist Awards are unrelated to COVID, but celebrate the luxury travel brands, that like us, are rooted in diversity, discovery and discernment at any time and linked to the six OutThere traveller profiles.

The Adventurer award

Winner: Cookson Adventures

Setting a new bar in hyper-personalised, super-luxury adventure travel, Cookson Adventures are enticing curious and worldly travellers to head out and explore the planet once again in a distinctive, fine-tuned and moreover, safe way.

Finalists:

62°NORD

Another World Adventures

Ecoventura

Bensley Collection – Shinta Mani Wild

Uncruise Adventures

The Culturalist award

Winner: The Siam x Smiling Albino

We got quite literally under the skin of Thai culture in Bangkok, Thailand’s ‘City of Angels’ with The Siam. The sophisticated luxury hotel that has developed a true sense of place has caught the eye of OutThere travellers, especially when paired with out-of-the-box cultural immersion courtesy of Smiling Albino.

Finalists:

Fotografiska New York

Kristiania Lech

Out Adventures

Schloss Elmau

Uncruise Adventures

The Escapist award

Joint winners: Chablé Hotels and SHA Wellness Retreat

Chablé Hotels
SHA Wellness Retreat

After the year that was, it seems that escapism and wellness have firmly cemented their intrinsic bond and are high on the list of priorities for OutThere travellers. Chablé Hotels on Mexico’s East Coast and SHA Wellness Clinic in Spain take this hotly contested category.

Highly commended: COMO Hotels

COMO Hotels’ proactive approach to wellness and holistic wellbeing didn’t go unnoticed by OutThere travellers and it came so close to topping the list, that we had just recognise it with a commendation.

Finalists:

57 Nord

Kudadoo

São Lourenço do Barrocal

The Hedonist award

Winner: Tel Aviv

The beachside city of Tel Aviv has a long-held reputation for hedonism, a favourite of OutThere travellers who adore its full-of-life residents. We can’t wait for the time to come when we will be able to celebrate the city’s forward-looking exuberance once again.

Finalists:

Badrutt’s Palace

Eden Rock St Barths

Iconic Luxury Hotels

The Nautilus Maldives

SO/ Hua Hin

The Insider award

Joint winners: Ayu in the Wild and Carrier

Ayu in the Wild
Carrier

With the OutThere traveller always looking to adventure just that little bit slower, more intelligently and better, to discover the inside track on what’s happening in a destination, who better than to turn to than this category’s joint winners, Sri Lankan slow-travel experts Ayu in the Wild and luxury tour operator, Carrier.

Finalists:

These six brands are all centred around ‘being in the know’ – they’re otherwise hard to access journeys, but made available because of the brand’s innovation, creativity and connections.

Abercrombie & Kent

Another World Adventures

Gleneagles

Tuscany Now & More

The Sophisticate award

Winner: Abercrombie & Kent Ultra-Lux Collection

Abercrombie & Kent’s highly sophisticated ultra-luxury trips and top-notch itineraries – the “money can’t buy” experiences – are all about reconnection, with people and nature, linked to giving back to communities. They’re centred around elite experiences that challenge the norm, broaden horizons and offer ultimate levels of luxury.

Finalists:

Arijiju

Monaco

Oetker Collection

Post Ranch Inn

The Siam

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Meet last edition’s Experientialist® judges

Our last judging panel is made up of a diverse cross-section of some of the best editors and travel writers in experiential travel. This edition will feature some new faces. A special thank you to all our Experientialist® judges for taking the time to deliberate over the entries.

Alex Temblador
Alex is an award-winning author and a freelance travel writer best known for her coverage of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Her work has appeared in outlets like Conde Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure, TravelPulse, Outside, Vice, Architectural Digest, Culture Trip, TimeOut, The Daily Beast, Lonely Planet, among many others.

Andrew Headspeath
Andrew is the former APAC Editor at Culture Trip, working with local writers and renowned hospitality brands to boost tourism in Southeast Asia. With proud Filipino heritage, he is passionate about elevating queer and BIPOC voices in travel. Andrew has written for publications including CNN and Attitude, and was shortlisted for Young Travel Writer of the Year 2019 at the AITO Awards.

Caoilfhionn Macguire
Caoilfhionn is a travel writer and photographer contributing to Arcadia, Elle, Gay Times & The Culture Trip, among others. Caoilfhionn owns Crusoe Collective, a content creation agency for sustainable travel & lifestyle brands. From hotels and fashion houses, to tourist boards and global beer brands, Caoilfhionn uses the power of photography & video to create emotive, consumer-led stories. 

Francisca Kellett
Francisca has 20 years’ experience as a travel editor, writer and columnist for some of the world’s leading publications, including Tatler, The Daily Telegraph, House & Garden, National Geographic, The Times and The FT. She co-founded Mundi & Co in 2018, a creative agency that provides exceptional content for exceptional brands, and is regarded as an industry expert on luxury and sustainable travel.

Hollie-Rae Brader
Hollie-Rae is editor of luxury travel trade magazine Aspire. Since taking the helm at Aspire in 2016 she has increased the magazine’s frequency and grown its distribution. To ensure the magazine is the leading title for luxury travel sellers she also introduced a string of networking and thought-leadership events and offers consumer marketing tools for her readers. Prior to joining Aspire, Hollie was deputy news editor and cruise reporter at sister title Travel Weekly.

Jenny Southan
Jenny is Editor and Founder of Globetrender, an online magazine and trend forecasting agency dedicated to the future of travel. She specialises in forward-looking, consumer-facing editorial as well as trend reports, research and consulting services for the travel industry. She is also a freelance travel writer and contributor on titles like Mr Porter, Conde Nast Traveller and City AM.

Jonathan Thompson
JT is a multi award-winning travel writer and the US travel correspondent for The Sunday Times. As a freelancer, he contributes to a wide range of publications on both sides of the Atlantic, from Travel and Leisure and Conde Nast Traveler to Tatler, National Geographic Traveller, Mr. Porter, GQ and Esquire. 

LoAnn Halden
LoAnn Halden has spent the past 20 years exploring the world and supporting LGBTQ+ travel as a writer, editor and currently as VP-Communications for the International LGBTQ+ Travel Association (IGLTA).

Lottie Gross
Lottie is a freelance travel writer and editor. She has reported for the UK’s Daily Telegraph, BBC Radio 4 and World Service and has acted as a digital editor for multiple high-profile publishers and magazines.

Martin Perry
Martin is co-Founder and Creative Director of OutThere and heads up OutThere/Studio, the first-of-its-kind brand engagement agency that specialises in diverse and inclusive content for destinations and travel brands.

Uwern Jong
Uwern is co-Founder and Experientialist-in-Chief at OutThere, celebrating a decade of publishing as an award-winning luxury and experiential travel journal rooted in diversity, discovery and discernment.

Featured image: photography by Martin Perry, shot on location at Maslin Beach, South Australia

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