It can’t hurt to have an award or two under your belt recognizing your successes. A number of industry organizations hold annual contests to judge exceptional work in the meeting profession. The ISES Esprit Awards deadline is coming up May 1, the Society of Incentive & Travel Executives’ Crystal Awards submissions are due June 1, and entry forms will be available June 1 for Special Events Magazine’s Gala Awards. ’Tis the season to be thinking of these and other programs that offer kudos for outstanding meetings, incentives, and events. Here’s a roundup.

  • Meeting Professionals International accepts submissions in early spring for its Global Paragon Award, a competition whose judges are looking for “exceptional meetings/events that deliver measurable successes to an organization’s bottom line.” MPI members compete in two categories: Meetings and events with budgets up to $1,000 per attendee (excluding transportation) and meetings and events with higher per-person costs. And they can enter in any of three areas: best themed event, best promotion for a meeting or event, and best product launch. Winners are celebrated at MPI’s World Education Conference, typically held in July. For more information, visit
  • The Society of Incentive & Travel Executives has been recognizing excellence in incentive travel programs since 1980 with its Crystal Awards program. Open to members and nonmembers, competition has six categories, including Creative Use of an Incentive Program to Solve a Marketing Problem, Best Incentive Promotion and/or Communication Program, and Most Outstanding Travel Reward Program. Crystal judges look for an “exceptional travel experience” in addition to a program that reaches its goals, whether that means stimulating sales, building customer loyalty, increasing customer service, or some other measure. Entries for the 2006 Crystals are due July 10, and the Crystal Award Ceremony will be held December 1 during the SITE International Conference in Barcelona. Enter online after May 8 at
  • If your specialty is special events, enter your best to be considered for a Gala Award. Special Events Magazine, sister publication to CMI, bestows the Gala Awards in more than 30 categories each year, including best theme décor; best achievement in logistics; best new, innovative event product/technology; best fundraising event; and best event entertainment concept and execution. This year, entry forms will be available June 1 online at and are due September 10. Winners will be named in January at The Special Event 2007 in Los Angeles.
  • The International Special Events Society also recognizes achievement in special events with its Esprit Awards. Members are invited to submit entries in 13 categories, including corporate event planning and event design/décor (entries compete in budget categories), as well as best industry innovation and creative solution. Members compete anonymously, and submissions earn credits toward the association’s Certified Special Event Professional designation. The entry deadline is May 1, and recipients will be celebrated at ISES Eventworld in August. For more information, visit
  • IMEX, the Frankfurt, Germany, international exhibition for incentive travel, meetings, and events, and the Green Meetings Industry Council will award their three 2006 IMEX Green Meetings Awards at the IMEX Gala Dinner at the end of May. The categories included a Commitment to the Community Award (formerly known as the Programs of Purpose Award), Green Meetings Award (formerly known as the Environmentally Responsible Meetings Award), and Green Exhibitor Award (new this year), and are given to organizations that demonstrate how they’ve minimized the environmental and social impact of their meetings and events. Submissions for the 2007 Green Meetings Awards are due in February 2007. Visit or
  • EIBTM, an international meeting and incentive exhibition held in Barcelona in late November, launched the EIBTM Meetings and Incentives Industry Awards in 2004. The program rewards creativity and excellence in seven categories, including best conference, best product launch, and best incentive travel program. For information, e-mail Cassie Britland at