With just days before the closing date of May 7 to enter this year’s Forecourt Trader Awards, operators should consider that the business benefits of winning one of these top industry accolades lasts much longer than one night of glory.

In fact, a major award winner can expect to see a sales uplift of 5%, says industry consultant Scott Annan, from Blue Ananta, if they effectively market their achievement.

He suggests using the shop window, in-store point of sale, and social media to promote the success. And, he says, category winners should consider sharing the celebrations with their customers by running promotions in the areas where they have come top, for instance, the Best Drinks or Best Car Car & Lubricant Outlets.

Vicky Hennessy, chief operating officer at Top 50 Indie Penny on the Move, says that when her company won the best forecourt loo, staff contacted the local press, resulting in headlines for the business in the community. Also when it won best valeting service, it made banners for the winning site proclaiming its triumph.

Joe Hockenhull, managing director of Hockenhall Garages, Forecourt Trader of the Year 2020, says the business is still reaping the benefits of winning the top award, and even now uses the winner’s logo on email sign-offs.

“It brought us so much good attention,” said Joe. “Multiples of contractors and suppliers contacted us on the back of the awards that we had not heard of before and we ended up getting good business from it,” he added.

At the same time, the trophy on display behind the till at winning forecourt The Stage in Wigston, Leicester, still proves a strong talking point. “We wouldn’t normally enter awards as it feels a bit like showing off, but we are so glad we did,” said Joe.

“We put so much energy, effort and attention to detail into this site, going through the ordeal of contaminated soil and the construction being delayed because of lockdown, we felt that if any of our sites deserved an award it was this one. We thought we might get region but were completely blown away by winning overall,” he added.

Patrick Sewell, retail managing director of East Yorkshire forecourt chain Sewell on the Go, said that while recognition for his team has been the biggest benefit of winning Forecourt Trader awards many times over the years, including the top slot, the business has seen significant wider benefits too.

“Being able to use the awards on our website and company literature has helped us communicate our professionalism to the outside world, whether that be to customers, stakeholders or new prospects,” he said. “Our supply chain is a big part of the good things we have achieved, and the awards recognised their support and raised our mutual profiles.”

The first Forecourt Trader of the Year winner, 28 years ago agrees. David Charman, managing director of Parkfoot Garage, says that it makes conversations with banks easier too, when they know that a site has been rewarded for its excellence. “The win in 1996 was a long time ago, when I still had dark hair, but it is something that I will always be very proud of and when you talk about business with anybody, the bank or anybody, it always puts you on another level. People love to do business with successful sites,” he said.

To enter the Forecourt Trader Awards 2024 click here

The deadline to enter this year’s Forecourt Trader Awards is Tuesday 7 May.