Companies across the trade are celebrating their wins this week following the Travel Weekly Globe Travel Awards 2008.

In a star-studded ceremony at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel, in which soul legend Jocelyn Brown made a surprise guest appearance and TV and radio presenter Mark Lamarr was compere, 42 awards were handed out to deserving businesses in the trade.

TripAdvisor scooped the Innovation Award, while industry veteran Sue Biggs won the Outstanding Achievement Award.

TripAdvisor brand distribution director Nathan Clapton said it was significant to win an award voted for by travel agents because it represented recognition in the trade.

He added: “It’s fantastic to win this award, especially from the industry’s agents. The last year has been particularly eventful for TripAdvisor – we have put four applications on Facebook.”

One of the company’s innovations – a map that can be added to a Facebook profile page to show which countries the user has travelled to – has been installed by five million people since it launched in July last year.

The company also provides reviews on Hayes and Jarvis and Thomson Holidays’ websites and has launched its own social networking section on its website.

“Trust is online gold dust. People want to read about other people’s experiences,” said Clapton.

The Outstanding Achievement Award went to Sue Biggs, former Kuoni UK country head until June 2007, when she left the company after 25 years. She is to join Thomas Cook as managing director of scheduled businesses this summer.

Biggs, who could not make the ceremony due to the sudden death of her father, said: “This is the highlight of my career – I am honoured to have won this award. I have always tried to do a good job – 25 years ago I would never have imagined I would one day win this award.”

Biggs joined Kuoni as a product executive in 1982. She went on to become managing director and the group’s only female and non-Swiss board director. 

She said the team and staff at Kuoni had played an important role in her career progression as had the lessons she had learnt from her bosses.

Career highlights include her early days at Kuoni, when the first charters were launched to the Maldives, and the way the company dealt with the aftermath of the tsunami in 2004. “You always learn something from major events,” she said.