CATEGORY DESCRIPTIONS

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Best Attendee Gifting Experience/Swag Bag
Awarded for an outstanding gift experience for an event or meeting. Submissions should include items gifted to attendees before, during, or after an event; as well as ways the items were delivered or displayed to attendees.

Best Awards Show/Ceremony
Awarded for an outstanding program celebrating award winners, honorees, and/or special guests. Submissions should highlight the people/brands honored, event programming, and how the ceremony was different from traditional awards celebrations.

Best Brand Activation
Awarded for the most original and creative experience that brought a brand to life. Submissions should highlight how the experience encouraged the audience to explore its product and/or services.

Best Brand/Product Launch
Awarded for the most innovative or effective event to introduce a new brand, product, or service. Entries must be from an in-person event and may include additional campaign elements such as content/competitions developed for social media, digital, broadcast, or print platforms. Submissions will be judged on the effectiveness, creativity, and originality of the launch concept and how it was delivered.

Best Catering at an Event
Awarded for outstanding food preparation, presentation, service, and planning. Submissions should include menus and may include integration of food and decor, as well as waitstaff uniforms, place settings, and/or other pieces used to enhance catering at an event or meeting. Submissions should highlight how these elements were aligned with the messaging and goal of the event or meeting.

Best Conference—Less Than 5,000 Attendees
Awarded for the effective and creative planning of a conference or meeting with less than 5,000 attendees. Judging is based on effectiveness and originality of content, relevance to event/subject matter, choice of speaker(s), methods of delivering content, integration of technology and/or social media, audience interaction, and learning environment. Submissions should highlight how these elements reflected the messaging and goal of the conference or meeting.

Best Conference—More Than 5,000 Attendees
Awarded for the effective and creative planning of a conference or meeting with more than 5,000 attendees. Judging is based on effectiveness and originality of content, relevance to event/subject matter, choice of speaker(s), methods of delivering content, integration of technology and/or social media, audience interaction, and learning environment. Submissions should highlight how these elements reflected the messaging and goal of the conference or meeting.

Best Corporate Event Concept—Budget Over $500,000
Awarded for the most innovative and effective theme/concept for an event planned by or for a corporation. Submissions may include a new theme for an established annual event or a creative concept for a new event, and highlight how this was executed through aspects such as catering, entertainment, decor, technology and/or social media integration, and guest interaction. Submissions should highlight how the concept reflected the messaging and goal of the event; the event’s total budget must be more than $500,000.

Best Corporate Event Concept—Budget Under $500,000
Awarded for the most innovative and effective theme/concept for an event planned by or for a corporation. Entries may include a new theme for an established annual event or a creative concept for a new event, and highlight how this was executed through aspects such as catering, entertainment, decor, technology and/or social media integration, and guest interaction. Submissions should highlight how the concept reflected the messaging and goal of the event; the event’s total budget must be $500,000 or less.

Best Cultural/Multicultural Event
Awarded for an outstanding event that promotes cultural awareness. Submissions should showcase how the event helped connect and inform the community through storytelling, food, dance, art, or other unique cultural experiences.

Best Event Decor
Awarded for outstanding creation of an effective, attractive environment at a corporate, association, or nonprofit event. Submissions may include a mix of decor, lighting, staging, entertainment, tabletop items, special effects, signage, or other elements used to create visuals that communicated the message of the event and/or its host.

Best Fair/Festival
Awarded for the most innovative or effective fair or festival with smart or unique ideas for event design, branding, marketing strategy, programming, and technology integration. Entries may include how an established fair or festival was revamped or a creative concept for an entirely new event. Submissions should describe the target audience and highlight how the concept reflected the messaging and goal of the fair or festival.

Best Immersive Experience
Awarded for the most innovative or effective environment that captivates the audience’s five basic senses and engages them in a sensory experience. Submissions should include how technology—including virtual reality, augmented reality, holograms, or other creative solutions—enhanced the attendee experience.

Best Incentive Program
Awarded for the most innovative and effective motivational event or other type of experiential incentive program. Submissions should highlight how the effort sought to improve employee morale, performance, and retention and fostered a stronger company culture through meaningful interactions.

Best Influencer Event
Awarded for the most innovative or effective event created for social media influencers. Entries should describe the concept, strategy, and goals for the event as well as the results of the event, as measured by social media reach or other metrics. Submissions will be judged on the effectiveness, creativity, and originality of the event.

Best Millennial/Gen Z Event
Awarded for the most original and creative event designed for Millennials and/or Gen Z. Submissions should share strategies on how the experience engaged the generation(s) through social media or other targeted platforms/campaigns.

Best Mobile Tour/Roadshow
Awarded for an outstanding series of events hosted in various locations throughout a state, country, or the world. Submissions should highlight the importance of each location, and how each location impacted the experience.

Best Nonprofit Event Concept—Budget Over $250,000
Awarded for the most innovative and effective theme/concept for an event planned by or for a nonprofit organization. Submissions may include a new theme for an established annual event or a creative concept for a new event and should clearly state how it helped drive the final fund-raising outcome, mission, and goal of the nonprofit organization. The event’s total budget must be more than $250,000.

Best Nonprofit Event Concept—Budget Under $250,000
Awarded for the most innovative and effective theme/concept for an event planned by or for a nonprofit organization. Submissions may include a new theme for an established annual event or a creative concept for a new event and should clearly state how it helped drive the final fund-raising outcome, mission, and goal of the nonprofit organization. The event’s total budget must be $250,000 or less.

Best Press Event
Awarded for the most impactful and effective event that was hosted largely with the media in mind. Submissions may be from press conferences, media previews, FAM trips, or other experiences and/or activities; and should highlight post-event coverage and media impressions.

Best Social Event
Awarded for the most innovative and effective concept planned for a social event (e.g. weddings, bar/bat mitzvahs, anniversaries, and birthdays). Submissions should highlight how the planning reflected the desired direction from the event’s host.

Best Sponsor Activation at an Event
Awarded for the most original and effective activation for a sponsor of a conference, trade show, benefit, festival, or other type of in-person event, with smart or unusual ideas for event design, branding, marketing strategy, and content. Submissions may include a mix of on-site initiatives and off-site promotions, and should highlight the effectiveness of the activation and how it reflected the identity, messaging, and goals of the sponsor as well as how it aligned with the overall event.

Best Sporting Event
Awarded for an outstanding event showcasing athletic activity requiring skill or physical prowess, or an experience related to a sporting event. Submissions may be from marathons, races, team sports, or other competitive events, as well as team drafts and other related experiences; and should include activations or other strategies that engaged fans/spectators.

Best Staging and Set Design
Awarded for exceptional design of a stage or set for an award presentation, conference’s general session, fashion show, concert, or other similar type of event. Submissions should highlight how the construction, materials used, integration of technology, speaker interaction, and/or overall design reflected the messaging, identity, and goals of the event and/or host organization.

Best Team Building Activity
Awarded for the most innovative or effective team building activity designed for groups. Submissions should describe what makes the activity unique, how it brings people together, and ways it can be customized or adapted for an individual group’s needs. The activity can come from a specific event, either as a standalone experience or part of a meeting or conference, or be an overall successful team building concept.

Best Trade Show Booth
Awarded for exceptional or most effective booth created for a trade show. Submissions should highlight how the construction, materials used, integration of technology, visitor experience/interaction, and/or overall design reflected the organization’s identity, messaging, and goals.

Best Association Event
Awarded for the most innovative or effective live or virtual event (including galas, conferences, or receptions) planned for an association. Entries may include a new theme for an established annual event or a creative concept for a new event, as well as concepts for education, networking, marketing, technology integration, entertainment, and decor. Submissions should highlight how the concept reflected the branding, messaging, and goal of the event.

Best Attendee Gifting Experience/Swag Bag (NEW)
Awarded for an outstanding gift experience for an event or meeting. Submissions should include items gifted to attendees before, during, or after an event; as well as ways the items were delivered or displayed to attendees.

Best Awards Show/Ceremony (NEW)
Awarded for an outstanding program celebrating award winners, honorees, and/or special guests. Submissions should highlight the people/brands honored, event programming, and how the ceremony was different from traditional awards celebrations.

Best Brand Activation (NEW)
Awarded for the most original and creative experience that brought a brand to life. Submissions should highlight how the experience encouraged the audience to explore its product and/or services.

Best Brand/Product Launch
Awarded for the most innovative or effective live or virtual event to introduce a new brand, product, or service. Entries must be from an in-person event and may include additional campaign elements such as content/competitions developed for social media, digital, broadcast, or print platforms. Submissions will be judged on the effectiveness, creativity, and originality of the launch concept and how it was delivered.

Best Catering at an Event
Awarded for outstanding food preparation, presentation, service, and planning. Submissions should include menus and may include integration of food and decor, as well as waitstaff uniforms, place settings, and/or other pieces used to enhance catering at an event or meeting. Submissions should highlight how these elements were aligned with the messaging and goal of the event or meeting.

Best Conference or Convention
Awarded for the effective and creative planning of a conference, convention, or meeting. Judging is based on effectiveness and originality of content, relevance to event/subject matter, choice of speaker(s), methods of delivering content, integration of technology and/or social media, audience interaction, and learning environment. Submissions should highlight how these elements reflected the messaging and goal of the conference or meeting.

Best Corporate Event Concept—Budget Over $500,000
Awarded for the most innovative and effective theme/concept for an event planned by or for a corporation. Submissions may include a new theme for an established annual event or a creative concept for a new event, and highlight how this was executed through aspects such as catering, entertainment, decor, technology and/or social media integration, and guest interaction. Submissions should highlight how the concept reflected the messaging and goal of the event; the event’s total budget must be more than $500,000.

Best Corporate Event Concept—Budget Under $500,000
Awarded for the most innovative and effective theme/concept for an event planned by or for a corporation. Entries may include a new theme for an established annual event or a creative concept for a new event, and highlight how this was executed through aspects such as catering, entertainment, decor, technology and/or social media integration, and guest interaction. Submissions should highlight how the concept reflected the messaging and goal of the event; the event’s total budget must be $500,000 or less.

Best Cultural/Multicultural Event (NEW)
Awarded for an outstanding event that promotes cultural awareness. Submissions should showcase how the event helped connect and inform the community through storytelling, food, dance, art, or other unique cultural experiences.

Best Event Decor
Awarded for outstanding creation of an effective, attractive environment at a corporate, association, or nonprofit event. Submissions may include a mix of decor, lighting, staging, entertainment, tabletop items, special effects, signage, or other elements used to create visuals that communicated the message of the event and/or its host.

Best Event Entertainment Act
Awarded for an outstanding performance or series of performances that contributed to the success of an event and how it fit the event or meeting design and concept. Submissions should highlight how the entertainment aligned with the messaging and goal of the event or meeting.

Best Event Technology/Product/Service
Awarded to the most innovative and effective event technology solution, including but not limited to apps, audience response systems, management system, or other interactive technology designed for events or meetings. Entries in this category should demonstrate how the technology can be used to improve or enhance the attendee experience and/or help event planners create effective events. Submissions do not need to be from a specific event but can describe how the solution was used at a particular event.

Best Fair/Festival
Awarded for the most innovative or effective fair or festival with smart or unique ideas for event design, branding, marketing strategy, programming, and technology integration. Entries may include how an established fair or festival was revamped or a creative concept for an entirely new event. Submissions should describe the target audience and highlight how the concept reflected the messaging and goal of the fair or festival.

Best Floral Design for an Event or Meeting
Awarded for ingenuity in floral event design, including concepts for centerpieces or larger installations for a corporate, nonprofit, association, or social event or meeting. Entries should highlight how the construction, materials used, containers, and/or overall display reflected the event’s messaging or style objectives.

Best Guerrilla Marketing Initiative/Marketing Campaign
Awarded to the most original and effective live or virtual promotion, stunt, giveaway, street-team initiative, or other type of guerilla marketing to generate sales, press, or buzz for a product or brand.

Best Immersive Experience (NEW)
Awarded for the most innovative or effective environment that captivates the audience’s five basic senses and engages them in a sensory experience. Submissions should include how technology—including virtual reality, augmented reality, holograms, or other creative solutions—enhanced the attendee experience.

Best Incentive Program
Awarded for the most innovative and effective motivational event or other type of experiential incentive program. Submissions should highlight how the effort sought to improve employee morale, performance, and retention and fostered a stronger company culture through meaningful interactions.

Best Influencer Event
Awarded for the most innovative or effective live or virtual event created for social media influencers. Entries should describe the concept, strategy, and goals for the event as well as the results of the event, as measured by social media reach or other metrics. Submissions will be judged on the effectiveness, creativity, and originality of the event.

Best Interactive Virtual Entertainment (NEW)
Awarded for an outstanding virtual performance or series of virtual performances featuring live interaction with attendees. Submissions may include mentalists, magicians, or other entertainment and should highlight how the entertainment aligned with the messaging and goal of the event or meeting.

Best Millennial/Gen Z Event (NEW)
Awarded for the most original and creative event designed for Millennials and/or Gen Z. Submissions should share strategies on how the experience engaged the generation(s) through social media or other targeted platforms/campaigns.

Best Mobile Tour/Roadshow (NEW)
Awarded for an outstanding series of events hosted in various locations throughout a state, country, or the world. Submissions should highlight the importance of each location, and how each location impacted the experience.

Best Nonprofit Event Concept—Budget Over $250,000
Awarded for the most innovative and effective theme/concept for an event planned by or for a nonprofit organization. Submissions may include a new theme for an established annual event or a creative concept for a new event and should clearly state how it helped drive the final fund-raising outcome, mission, and goal of the nonprofit organization. The event’s total budget must be more than $250,000.

Best Nonprofit Event Concept—Budget Under $250,000
Awarded for the most innovative and effective theme/concept for an event planned by or for a nonprofit organization. Submissions may include a new theme for an established annual event or a creative concept for a new event and should clearly state how it helped drive the final fund-raising outcome, mission, and goal of the nonprofit organization. The event’s total budget must be $250,000 or less.

Best Press Event (NEW)
Awarded for the most impactful and effective event that was hosted largely with the media in mind. Submissions may be from press conferences, media previews, FAM trips, or other experiences and/or activities; and should highlight post-event coverage and media impressions.

Best Reimagined Event Experience (NEW)
Awarded for the most original and creative event transformation. Submissions should highlight how organizers were impacted by current events of the world and how the event was reworked to thrive in its new environment.

Best Social Event
Awarded for the most innovative and effective concept planned for a social event (e.g. weddings, bar/bat mitzvahs, anniversaries, and birthdays). Submissions should highlight how the planning reflected the desired direction from the event’s host.

Best Sponsor Activation at an Event
Awarded for the most original and effective activation for a sponsor of a live or virtual conference, trade show, benefit, festival, or other type of in-person event, with smart or unusual ideas for event design, branding, marketing strategy, and content. Submissions may include a mix of on-site initiatives and off-site promotions, and should highlight the effectiveness of the activation and how it reflected the identity, messaging, and goals of the sponsor as well as how it aligned with the overall event.

Best Sporting Event (NEW)
Awarded for an outstanding live or virtual event showcasing athletic activity requiring skill or physical prowess, or an experience related to a sporting event. Submissions may be from marathons, races, team sports, or other competitive events, as well as team drafts and other related experiences; and should include activations or other strategies that engaged fans/spectators.

Best Staging/Set/Environment Design
Awarded for exceptional design of a stage or set for an award presentation, conference’s general session, fashion show, concert, or other similar type of event. Submissions should highlight how the construction, materials used, integration of technology, speaker interaction, and/or overall design reflected the messaging, identity, and goals of the event and/or host organization.

Best Sustainability/Corporate Social Responsibility Program
Awarded for the innovative and effective use of eco-friendly or C.S.R. practices at a corporate, association, or nonprofit event or meeting. Entries may include a mix of decor, technology, catering, production, and any other pre- or post-event sustainable initiatives and C.S.R. applications (e.g. involvement or partnerships with local communities/organizations). Submissions should include information explaining the effectiveness of the initiatives/program and how it aligned with the event or meeting’s overall objectives.

Best Tabletop Design
Awarded for outstanding creation of tabletop design at a corporate, association, or nonprofit event. Submissions should describe the elements that contributed to the design, highlight how they reflected the event's concept, and explain how they supported the message of the event and/or its host. Judging is based on creativity, execution, and originality.

Best Team Building Activity
Awarded for the most innovative or effective live or virtual team building activity designed for groups. Submissions should describe what makes the activity unique, how it brings people together, and ways it can be customized or adapted for an individual group’s needs. The activity can come from a specific event, either as a standalone experience or part of a meeting or conference, or be an overall successful team building concept.

Best Trade or Consumer Show
Awarded for the most innovative or effective live or virtual trade show with smart or unusual ideas for event design, branding, marketing strategy, and content. Entries may include how an established show was revamped or a creative concept for an entirely new expo. Submissions should highlight how the concept reflected the messaging and goal of the trade show.

Best Trade Show Booth
Awarded for exceptional or most effective booth created for a trade show. Submissions should highlight how the construction, materials used, integration of technology, visitor experience/interaction, and/or overall design reflected the organization’s identity, messaging, and goals.

Best Use of Social Media for a Virtual Event or Meeting (NEW)
Awarded for the most innovative and effective use or integration of social media platforms (such as Facebook, Twitter, etc.) to promote a virtual event or generate sales or buzz for a product or brand. Entries should include information proving how the social media campaign was effective. (Please note: submissions for social media campaigns promoting event industry companies will not be considered in this category.)

Best Use of Special Effects at Events
Awarded for the most innovative and effective use of special effects at a meeting or event. Entries may include pyrotechnics, the use of wind/snow/fog machines, video projections or projection mapping, and holograms. Submissions must highlight how the effect was used to reflect the event or meeting's messaging or style objectives.

Best Virtual Attendee Gifting Experience/Swag Bag (NEW)
Awarded for an outstanding gift experience for a virtual event or meeting. Submissions should include items gifted to attendees before, during, or after an event; as well as ways the items were delivered to attendees.

Best Virtual Awards Show/Ceremony (NEW)
Awarded for an outstanding virtual program celebrating award winners, honorees, and/or special guests. Submissions should highlight the people/brands honored, event programming, and how the ceremony was different from traditional awards celebrations.

Best Virtual Brand Activation (NEW)
Awarded for the most original and creative virtual experience that brought a brand to life. Submissions should highlight how the experience encouraged the audience to explore its product and/or services in an online format.

Best Virtual Conference—Less Than 1,500 Attendees (NEW)
Awarded for the effective and creative planning of a virtual conference or meeting with less than 1,500 online attendees. Judging is based on effectiveness and originality of content, relevance to event/subject matter, choice of speaker(s), methods of delivering content, integration of technology and/or social media, audience interaction, and learning environment. Submissions should highlight how these elements reflected the messaging and goal of the conference or meeting.

Best Virtual Conference—More Than 1,500 Attendees (NEW)
Awarded for the effective and creative planning of a virtual conference or meeting with more than 1,500 online attendees. Judging is based on effectiveness and originality of content, relevance to event/subject matter, choice of speaker(s), methods of delivering content, integration of technology and/or social media, audience interaction, and learning environment. Submissions should highlight how these elements reflected the messaging and goal of the conference or meeting.

Best Virtual Cultural/Multicultural Event (NEW)
Awarded for an outstanding virtual event that promotes cultural awareness. Submissions should showcase how the event helped connect and inform the community through storytelling, food, dance, art, or other unique cultural experiences.

Best Virtual Environment (NEW)
Awarded for exceptional design or a virtual environment for an awards presentation, conference, trade show, or other experience. Submissions should highlight how the technology, attendee experience, and overall design reflected the messaging, identity, and goals of the event and/or host organization.

Best Virtual Entertainment Act (NEW)
Awarded for an outstanding virtual performance or series of performances that contributed to the success of an event and how it fit the event or meeting design and concept. Submissions may include live concerts, DJ battles, dancing and performances, games and more; and should highlight how the entertainment aligned with the messaging and goal of the event or meeting.

Best Virtual Event/Meeting Platform (NEW)
Awarded to an exceptional digital platform for events, meetings, expos, webinars, or other virtual experiences. Submissions should showcase live streaming and presentation capabilities, networking features, Q&A and polling functionality, exhibitor booths, and other interactive elements.

Best Virtual Multi-Day Event (NEW)
Awarded for an outstanding virtual event series taking place over more than one day. Submissions should highlight the technology used for the multi-day event, programming and agenda, and how the event messaging and branding stayed consistent throughout each day.

Best Virtual Social Event (NEW)
Awarded for the most innovative and effective concept planned for a virtual social event (e.g. weddings, bar/bat mitzvahs, anniversaries, and birthdays). Submissions should highlight how the planning reflected the desired direction from the event’s host.