Official Entry Rules

Entry rules for paid categories

Registration Opens October 5, 2015 at The deadline for entries and registration payment is 11:59 p.m., PDT, January 18, 2016. Late entries will not be accepted.

Entrants must fill out the official entry form online. An official entry shall consist of location information, answering questions describing a location’s excellence in its category, and a maximum of 5 photos representing the entry. Judging considerations for each category vary and will be detailed on category description pages at beginning October 5, 2015. Failure to complete the form properly may result in disqualification. Sunset reserves the right to disqualify entries that do not comply with rules, enter ineligible categories, or fail to make full payment. Do not mail entries.

Entries must represent businesses, cities/towns, attractions, or services (that take place) in the 13 Western United States (Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming), British Columbia, or Alberta. Entries outside this geographic region will not be eligible.

The cost is $400 for entry into one category and $75 for entry into each additional category. Discounted entry applies only for a single physical location. (For example, a hotel chain will not receive the discount for entering two of its properties into different categories.)

Registration payments can be made by credit card only. If payment is not received by January 18, 2016, entries will be disqualified. Registration fees will not be refunded for disqualified entries or voluntary withdrawal from the competition.

Do not mail payments.

The judging for paid categories will take place in two parts:

First, Sunset’s editorial staff will conduct an initial round of judging by reading entrant answers and looking at photos. As a group, the editorial staff will winnow the pool of entries down to four finalists in each category. Sunset reserves the right to change the category of an entry, if appropriate, and combine or eliminate categories if fewer than four qualified entries per category can be identified. Part one of the judging process will take place between January 26, 2016 and February 9, 2016.

Second, the Sunset Travel Awards Advisory Board, which will be announced at on October 5, 2015, will congregate at Sunset headquarters in California. The advisors will break into two groups, each of which will review finalists in half the paid categories and select a winner in each. When either panel is stuck in a tie, the Sunset Editor at Large or Travel Editor, who will serve as secretaries for the two groups, will cast the deciding vote. No Advisory Board member will be allowed to vote on a category for which she or he has a vested professional or personal interest. Part two of the judging process will take place in March, 2016.

More details on the judging process can be found at during the entry period.

Editorial categories are not subject to these rules.

Editorial categories:
Sunset’s editorial team will vote on and determine the winners of the eight to 10 editorial awards categories. Sunset will not solicit entries in these categories, and registration fees will not be collected from these winners. 

In addition, by entering, Entrant grants to Sponsor a non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty-free license to edit, publish, promote or republish at any time in the future and otherwise use Entrant’s submitted contest entry, including but not limited to photos and/or essays, along with Entrant’s name, likeness, biographical information, and any other information provided by Entrant, in any and all media for possible editorial, promotional or advertising purposes, without further permission, notice or compensation. Any or all of the contest entries may be used by Sunset and/or its partners for advertising purposes with compensations.

The Sunset Travel Awards logo remains the property of Sunset Publishing Company; any unauthorized use, reproduction or alteration of the Sunset Travel Awards logo and trophies or plaques are strictly prohibited.

By entering into the Sunset Travel Awards competition you agree to all of the conditions of entry. Sunset reserves the right to make changes or updates to the awards program at any time without notice.

In the event that the judging is not held, a portion of the fees will be refunded, after accounting for expenses already incurred by Sunset.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, the Sunset Travel Awards shall not be liable for failure to perform caused by an act of God, fire, flood, wind, rain, storm, electrical failure, strike, labor dispute, riot, insurrection, war or other causes beyond its control.

Keep Reading: