When Dr. Kimberly Severt, professor at the University of Central Florida’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management, was in the thick of researching corporate incentive programs for the Incentive Research Foundation a couple of years ago, she was struck by the fact that incentive qualifiers were usually referred to as “winners.”

“When I looked at the qualification criteria, and spoke to ‘winners’ and ‘non-winners,’ I thought, it’s no wonder the public has a misperception about incentive programs,” says Severt. “These people were working very hard for the conference. They were earning it.”

So why not call them “earners,” which suggests the effort required, rather than “winners,” which suggests it’s the luck of the draw. At a time when the meetings and incentive industry is still striving to be understood, Severt says, “using a term like ‘earners’ is a start.”