Per AQUUM Hotels & Resorts have won the “Indian Ocean’s Leading Boutique Hotel Brand 2020”, an award by the globally renowned World Travel Awards (WTA). However, it has come to light that the brand does not currently have any resorts or hotels in the Maldives. In fact, according to Corporate Maldives’ sources, Per AQUUM has apparently been dissolved since 2017.
“Since 2017, they don’t seem to have any properties,” said an anonymous source. “So why have they been awarded by World Travel Awards? That is the question that remains to be answered.”
Indeed, if dissolved brands are consecutively winning prestigious top awards in the industry, what does this say about the credibility of the awards programme? Apart from this year’s award, Per AQUUM won the same award in the previous year, and was nominated in 2018 and 2017 as well.
The factual inconsistencies in the World Travel Awards have left much speculation about how the winners are chosen. A number of critics on social media have claimed that the awards are ‘for sale’, bought by resort companies looking to step up their PR game. With big-name awards like WTA under their belt, resorts may wrangle in a greater market share in an industry as competitive as hospitality.
However, the cons may outweigh the pros in this case. While receiving reputed travel awards does of course enhance brand image, there is a difference to be made between buying such awards and earning them. In order to restore credibility and trust, efforts should instead be redirected to the latter.