A big focus of a lot of meetings is the event awards program. It’s a time to recognize those that are doing great work for your industry, while also encouraging those that are striving to also do great work. 

For next year’s Cincinnati USA Convention & Visitors Bureau annual meeting, we have already started the process of gathering nominations for our own awards program, the Spirit Awards. It got us thinking about what goes into creating great awards for your own program. 

Here are a few things to think about when creating your own awards program:

Tie Event Awards to Business Objectives

Some people are out there making business happen, and they deserve to receive some recognition for that. You can take it from two different angles. 

The first would be recognizing those that are achieving their own business objectives. This makes it a more aspirational award and highlights them as someone everyone should know if they want to achieve those same goals. 

The second would be recognizing those that have helped your event or organization reach its business objectives. In our case, we have the Champion Award for Convention and Meeting Sales, which awards one or more individuals who have worked closely with the CVB to bring important meetings and conventions to Cincinnati USA. We also have the Partnership Award, which recognizes an individual or organization who partnered with the Cincinnati USA CVB and made significant contributions to the local meetings and tourism industry. This is a great way to highlight those that are helping you, and thanking them. But, you are also demonstrating the different ways in which those in the audience can do the same thing. 

Tie Event Awards to Industry Objectives

Every industry has different objectives that they would like to achieve. In the case of our industry, we have identified diversity and outstanding service as two areas we feel our industry could always improve upon. For that reason, our Spirit Awards include two awards for those that have worked to improve diversity among their workforce and those they work with (The Horace Sudduth Progressive Business Award and Wendell P. Dabney Award for Diversity). The Spirit Awards also include the Pinnacle Award for Outstanding Service to recognize those doing great work on the front lines in Cincinnati's hospitality industry. 

If you want to create similar awards, take a look at the specific issues facing your industry. How can your attendees better address those issues? Create awards around the answers to that question. 

Tie Event Awards to Thanking

Sometimes people take actions that affect everyone positively. In our case, when a great story about Cincinnati is in the media, it helps everyone in our city. That’s why we have the Erich Kunzel Queen City Advocate. It gives us a chance to thank those that are telling the story of why Cincinnati is a must-visit city. In most cases, they are not just telling that story, they are a big part of it. 

For your event awards, look at ways your attendees could potentially benefit everyone. How can they lift everyone up? Maybe you build awards around mentorship or maybe those that are telling your industry’s story. Whatever it is, look for ways to thank those that are making your industry better. 

How have you built your event awards program?