The Winners of the 2014 Travel + Leisure Smitty Awards

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This year’s Travel + Leisure Smitty Awards recently announced their winners for 2014, an Awards Program which recognizes the companies in the travel and tourism industry showcasing the best and most innovative uses of social media.

I am proud to announce that I was a judge this year, together with Skift’s Jason Clampet, Twitter’s Mike De Jesus, Gogobot’s Travis Katz, BuzzFeed’s Ashley Perez, travel photographer Cole Rise, NBC Today Show’s Al Roker, Google’s Rob Torres and travel social media strategist Ann Tran. We reviewed hundreds of submissions and named winners and runners-up in 30 categories.

Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts took home the most awards with four wins and Virgin Atlantic and The Hertz Corporation received two wins in two categories each.

The winners and their campaigns can be seen on, with additional information available by searching #TLSMITTY on social media. The SMITTY Awards is also featured in the Travel + Leisure July 2014 issue which went on stands in mid-June.

To celebrate the SMITTY Awards, Travel + Leisure hosted an event on July 9, 2014 at the Refinery Hotel rooftop in Manhattan. Below are a handful of fun shots I took at the event.

Travel + Leisure’s Editor-in-Chief, Nancy Novogrod, Renee Blodgett, and Rich Beattie, Travel + Leisure’s Executive Digital Editor

Above, Four Seasons’ Laura Fairweather

Above, Tadashi Matsushita from ANA (All Nippon Airways), Renee Blodgett and Athanasios “Tommy” Sikolas of ANA (All Nippon Airways)

Above, Rich Beattie

Above and below, kudos to the Hyatt team & a few others :-)

Above, Travel + Leisure reps from social media, digital and design!

Above, Ruth Moran (left) from Tourism Ireland even made a showing :-)

Below are the Winners:

Best Use of Twitter:                                                                                        Virgin Atlantic; Runner-Up: The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company

Best Use of Pinterest:                                                                                    VisitBritain; Runner-Up: Explore Georgia

Best Use of Instagram:                                                                                  Tahiti Tourisme North America

Best Use of Facebook:                                                                                   Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts

Best Use of Tumblr:                                                                                        VisitSweden; Runner-Up: Sofitel Luxury Hotels

Best Chat/Hangout:                                                                                        Residence Inn by Marriott

Best Long-Form Video:                                                                                  Virgin American; WestJet (tie)

Best Use of Foursquare or Other Location-Based Services:                 Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts; Hilton Hotels & Resorts; The Hertz Corporation (tie)

Best App or Technology:                                                                               Roaming Hunger; Runner-Up: Oberoi, Mumbai

Best Blog:                                                                                                            Butterfield & Robinson; GrandLife Hotels (tie)

Best Use of Social Media for Public Service:                                         Montage Hotels & Resorts; Runner-Up: Fairfield Inn & Suites

by Marriott

Best Contest/Giveaway:                                                                               The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel; Runner-Up: South African Tourism

Best Use of and Emerging Platform:                                                        Iceland Travel; Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts (tie)

Best Customer Service:                                                                                 Hyatt Hotels & Resorts; Runner-Up: Austin Convention & Visitors Bureau

Best Use of Social Media: Independent Travel

Journalist/Blogger:                                                                                          Amateur Traveler

Best Use of Social Media: Independent Travel

Photo Journalist/Videographer:                                                                Bohemian Trails; Runner-Up: Let’s Get Lost

Best Overall Use of Social Media:

Airline:                                                                                                                  Virgin Atlantic; Runner-Up: All Nippon Airways

Airport:                                                                                                                Singapore Changi Airport; Runner-Up: San Francisco International Airport

Attraction:                                                                                                          Vail Resorts; Runner-Up: Rocky Mountaineer

Car Rental Agency:                                                                                          The Hertz Corporation

Cruise Line:                                                                                                         Princess Cruises; Runner-Up: MSC Cruises USA

Tourism Board/DMO/Marketing Association:                                      Pure Michigan; Runner-Up: Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board

Global Hotel or Resort Chain:                                                                      Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts; Runner-Up: Fairmont Hotels & Resorts

Individual Hotel or Resort, U.S.:                                                                 Beverly Wilshire, a Four Seasons Hotel

Individual Hotel or Resort, Global:                                                            The Westin Bund Center, Shanghai; Runner-Up: Ushuaïa Ibiza Beach Hotel

Outfitter:                                                                                                             Big 5 Tours & Expeditions; Runner-Up: G Adventures

Travel Agency/OTA:                                                                                        Expedia

Travel Resource:                                                                                              Fathom; Peek (tie)

Restaurant/Food Truck/Market:                                                               Sam’s Chowder House

Non-Travel-Industry Company:                                                                 Cubavera/Perry Ellis

The Travel + Leisure SMITTY Awards 2014 Jury

  • Renee Blodgett, Founder and Editor, We Blog the World; CEO, Magic Sauce Media
  • Jason Clampet, Co-Founder and Head of Content, Skift
  • Mike De Jesus, Head of Travel and Tourism, Twitter
  • Travis Katz, Co-Founder and CEO, Gogobot
  • Ashley Perez, Senior Editor, BuzzFeed
  • Cole Rise, Travel Photographer
  • Al Roker, Co-Host and Weatherman, NBC’s TODAY Show
  • Rob Torres, Managing Director of Travel, Google
  • Ann Tran, Travel Social-Marketing Strategist

Below is a very short video snippet shot at the event of Rich Beattie congratulating winners and giving kudos to his team. They did an incredible job pulling together yet another year’s Awards event. Kudos to Rich and his team!


Renee Blodgett
Renee Blodgett is the founder of We Blog the World. The site combines the magic of an online culture and travel magazine with a global blog network and has contributors from every continent in the world. Having lived in 10 countries and explored nearly 80, she is an avid traveler, and a lover, observer and participant in cultural diversity.

She is also the CEO and founder of Magic Sauce Media, a new media services consultancy focused on viral marketing, social media, branding, events and PR. For over 20 years, she has helped companies from 12 countries get traction in the market. Known for her global and organic approach to product and corporate launches, Renee practices what she pitches and as an active user of social media, she helps clients navigate digital waters from around the world. Renee has been blogging for over 16 years and regularly writes on her personal blog Down the Avenue, Huffington Post, BlogHer, We Blog the World and other sites. She was ranked #12 Social Media Influencer by Forbes Magazine and is listed as a new media influencer and game changer on various sites and books on the new media revolution. In 2013, she was listed as the 6th most influential woman in social media by Forbes Magazine on a Top 20 List.

Her passion for art, storytelling and photography led to the launch of Magic Sauce Photography, which is a visual extension of her writing, the result of which has led to producing six photo books: Galapagos Islands, London, South Africa, Rome, Urbanization and Ecuador.

Renee is also the co-founder of Traveling Geeks, an initiative that brings entrepreneurs, thought leaders, bloggers, creators, curators and influencers to other countries to share and learn from peers, governments, corporations, and the general public in order to educate, share, evaluate, and promote innovative technologies.
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One Response to The Winners of the 2014 Travel + Leisure Smitty Awards

  1. keane July 15, 2014 at 4:56 pm #

    Fabulous photos, Renee!

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