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Paul Bergeron, Senior Vice President, 
Event Solutions Group, BI WORLDWIDE

An Insider’s View of 2021: Recognition Events

Three ways to create positive recognition experiences in today’s environment, according to Paul Bergeron of BI WORLDWIDE.

MeetingsNet asked 21 events-industry thought leaders to weigh in with their predictions and perspectives for 2021. Find all the commentary here.

Paul Bergeron

Senior Vice President, Event Solutions Group


While we can’t estimate a date when group incentive travel will return as it once was, we do know that the power of recognition is as important as ever to inspire sales teams and employees, and it must continue in creative ways in 2021.

First, we won’t see companies connecting with and recognizing high-level performers in the “normal” ways of the recent past. Because of this, we’ve had to help customers reimagine rewards. 

According to our recent research report titled "The New Rules of Employee Engagement," recognition drives commitment to the organization, and magnifying people’s success plays into the idea that whatever gets recognized gets repeated. In fact, feeling sufficiently recognized was the top predictor of salespeople’s commitment levels. 

Here are three ways we have created positive recognition experiences given the present constraints:

  • Offer award items for home-office spaces and leisure time, and create “home-life” gift collections. Employees use their points for everything from coffee makers to office chairs to the newest big-screen television.
  • Once-in-a-lifetime incentive travel programs have been replaced for now with an equally meaningful award. It starts with a special communication and announcement kit, including a message from the CEO or sales leader and a tangible recognition item. Then achievers receive points to use for extensive merchandise options and experiences, such as a kitchen makeover, family-entertainment room, or designer jewelry—or a personalized travel award. Demand for experiential travel and destinations with wide-open spaces is a consistent request; drive-to packages are increasingly popular.
  • Sales-award nights have become entertaining virtual events, with the achievers’ family and friends watching them receive their recognition. These events can kick off with a DJ, mixologist, or trivia contest along with a real-time chat stream. Once the ceremony starts, each achiever is highlighted with special words from a high-level executive plus personal messages of congratulations that are shared from living rooms across the world. Awards can be shipped out in time for the big event along with a celebration kit that enhances the virtual event.
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