The ACSI Awards have become part and parcel of the world of camping. In 2024, ACSI will be awarding this coveted prize for the third time. The digital ballot boxes opened on 15 September and campers from across Europe can vote for their favourite campsite in various categories until 15 January. The ACSI Awards are an excellent opportunity for campsites to get a place in the spotlight.
The first edition
The very first winners of the ACSI Awards were announced in April 2022. In the preceding months, campers could vote for their favourite campsite, and CEO Ramon van Reine presented the winners during the Inspectors’ Days at the ACSI office in Andelst. With more than 50,000 votes, the first edition was an instant success.
‘We created the ACSI Awards to put those campsites that perform well in the spotlight and to give them a platform to show themselves,’ Van Reine says about the start. ‘We present the winning campsites on our websites and in our guides and apps. That enables us to reach millions of European campers each year who are looking for an unforgettable holiday.’
The fact that it is the campers themselves who determine which campsites win an ACSI Award makes the prize even more special. ‘Winning a ACSI Award shows that the campsite guarantees an unforgettable holiday. After all, it goes without saying that you will not vote for a campsite where you didn’t have a nice holiday,’ Van Reine explains. Therefore, winning an ACSI Award can be a significant factor for campers when choosing a campsite.
Since what campers want at a campsite is highly personal, they can vote in different categories. ‘One camper enjoys nature and peace and quiet while another wants as much entertainment as possible at the campsite. Campers can now vote in the category in which their favourite campsite really excels,’ Van Reine explains.
Campers choose their favourite campsite in each category. After the voting period, a winner is chosen per country in each category. ‘For example, you get a best great little campsite in France, but also a winner in Croatia and Italy,’ Van Reine says. ‘It is a wonderful source of inspiration for future camping holidays. In 2023, for example, there were 120 winners of an ACSI Award.’
In 2024 again, campers can vote in several categories (see box). In the ‘Best Campsite’ and ‘Best Great Little Campsite’ categories, the total number of votes the campsite receives, divided over all categories, counts. In the other categories, the number of votes the campsite receives specifically in that one category counts.
The value of winning
Winners of an ACSI Award receive a crystal award and a certificate. They are great to show off at reception. But winning an ACSI Award is more than simply an honour. The award has quickly made a name for itself in the camping world, which makes it even more valuable for campsites to win themselves an ACSI Award. ‘We make sure that the campsites that have won an ACSI Award get extra attention on our websites and in our apps. We use a special icon so that visitors can instantly see that this campsite has won an ACSI Award. That means a campsite stands out even more when the search results are displayed to the visitor,’ Van Reine says.
Campers can also search just for award-winning campsites. We gave created a special search filter for that. The winners are also highly visible offline. ‘You can easily see which campsites have won an ASCI Award in our campsite guides. For each country, the winners are displayed to the reader on a separate page. And we include the overview of winning campsites in other communications as well. For example, there is always an article about the winners in ACSI FreeLife magazine. They are also given extensive attention in ACSI Times.’
In any case, there is no lack of attention for the ACSI Awards. ‘We actively promote this from ACSI, both during the voting process as well as afterwards. We have a page online that lists all the winners, and this page is also actively promoted via our websites, newsletters and social media channels.’
Van Rein also states that there is yet another bonus for campsites that received a large number of votes. ‘When casting their vote, campers can also post a – in most cases positive – review about the campsite. These reviews play a significant role when choosing a campsite. A campsite with many recent, positive reviews will receive more bookings.’
Let it be known
So, there are plenty of reasons for a campsite to want to win an ACSI Award. And besides hoping for a good result, campsites can also get out and about and canvas for votes. ‘Approach your regular campers, previous campsite guests or neighbours to vote. We make that a little easier by making a promotion package available.
The promotion package can be downloaded from acsi.eu/promokit and is available in several languages. This package contains material that campsites can use online and offline. The package is filled with online banners, a newsletter footer and material to share on social media channels. It also contains a flyer that campsites can print out and hang up at various locations. Campers can cast their vote directly using the QR code on the flyer.
We also put the spotlight on campsites that have just missed out on an ASCI Award. ‘These campsites also received many votes, which demonstrates that they guarantee a wonderful holiday. And although there can only be one winner, we feel that these campsites deserve a mention,’ Van Reine tells us. To put this into practice, we created the honourable mentions.
‘Campsites that receive an honourable mention receive a certificate that they can hang up at reception. They are also given attention online. Not only can campers filter by campsites that have won an ACSI Award, but they can also view campsites that have received an honourable mention. We have also designed an icon for this group of campsites so that they stand out more in the search results.’
Presentation by ACSI inspectors
An ACSI inspector hands over the prizes to the winners of an ACSI Award or honourable mention. ‘Inspectors are very important for ACSI and maintain good contact with the campsites in their region. That is why we feel it appropriate that they are the ones to hand the prizes to the campsite owners,’ explains Van Reine.
‘During the training days in mid-April, they heard which campsites in their inspection area had won an award or honourable mention. They take the awards with them when they travel so they can present them to the campsite. They often also create great media moments with local media in attendance. That gives the presentation an extra special touch.
ACSI Awards Event in Altea
Last year’s presentation in the Spanish Altea was particularly special. Every year, ACSI CEO Ramon van Reine also makes the trip to present several awards. This time, Van Reine joined Business Developer Frank Jacobs in Altea to personally present the winners from Spain and Portugal with their ACSI Awards. The festive award ceremony was held on 23 May. All campsite owners from Spain and Portugal who had won an ACSI Award, or an honourable mention were invited. The event was combined with presentations, an extensive lunch, a festive ceremony and enjoyable informal drinks to end the day.
Ballot boxes open
The ballot boxes for 2024 are now open. Campers have until 15 January to cast their votes on acsi.eu/awards. The winners will be announced mid-May 2024.
Categories in 2024 are:
Campsite that got the highest number of votes in one country.
Best Great Little Campsite
Small campsite (max. 50 touring pitches) that allows you to enjoy nature in peace and quiet.
Best Campsite for Children
Children have the time of their lives at this campsite because of the play facilities and fantastic animation.
Most Dog-friendly Campsite
Loyal furry friends are more than welcome at this campsite. Dogs deserve a holiday as well.
Best Campsite Swimming Pool
Campers like nothing better than spending the entire day in this wonderful swimming paradise.
Campsite in the Most Beautiful Location
This campsite is located in an amazing spot, near a forest, water, city or mountains. It is in a perfect location!
Best Cycling Campsite
The surrounding area is great to explore by bike from this campsite.
Best Walking Campsite
Campers put on their walking boots for the best walking trips.
Best Campsite Restaurant
Guests can enjoy excellent food in the campsite restaurant here. The food is delicious, and the service is excellent.
Best Motorhome Pitches
This campsite has everything a motorhome owner could need. The best pitches and all amenities are nearby.
Campsite with the Best Toilet Facilities
The toilet facilities at this campsite really stand out, they are clean and modern.