Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Industry Awards - are they worth it?

I’m intrigued by awards and the process of working out who wins what.

Film and book awards are pretty straight forward – the judges get to view or read the entries and base their judgment on what they observe first hand.

This also applies to sports, singing, dancing, etc. Even hairdressing and other esoteric pursuits are judged by people who actually see the creations.

However in our industry awards are presented for the production of conferences and events of all sorts and in a huge variety of locations. Those hoping for an award put in a submission to a panel of judges who are most unlikely to have observed any of the process of the production of the nominated event.

People are also nominated (or nominate themselves) for best sales, marketing, technical, operations, etc person of the year and for the most part the judges would have know idea who they are or how accurate their submission actually is.

Then there are awards for various venues – at least venues get visited by more people.

Now while I appreciate that judging panels for the various industry awards do the best they can based on the information before them, surely, in the end it comes down to who can produce the most convincing awards submission.

I’m not suggesting that there is a better way – just that the system is flawed.

The most established is the Australian Meetings and Event Industry Awards run by MEA and they are only open to members – but let’s face it the membership fee could just count as part of your submission costs.

ISES members are encouraged to enter into the Esprit Awards conducted by the international office, and a number of Australians have been successful in this competition.

MICE.net run another competition - the e-awards - that is open to all comers no matter what association they may or may not belong to and according to their latest bulletin they have increased entries over last year.

So along comes the Australian Event Awards to fill a void that no one knew was there.
MEA and ISES have released a joint statement stating in part “Awards programs that are run for industry by industry have established a high standard of submission guidelines and judging process that ensures winners are true industry leaders and professionals in their field.”

The Australian Event Awards team struck back with a media release stating “The 23 Award Categories are the only opportunity for Australian events, event organisers, products and services to be acknowledged across the entire industry regardless of event type, size or association membership.”

The Australian Event Awards appear to follow the commercial model of the many business award programs around such as the Small Business Champion Awards run by Precedent Productions – even their award logos have a similar feel.

Incidentally the entry fee for the MICE.net e awards is $110, for the Australian Event Awards the fee is $220. The MEA awards entry fee ranges from $120 - $230 depending on the category.

In other award news a winner in the Telstra Business Awards for 2008 is Atlantic Group [v] who won the 2008 National Winner of the Panasonic Australia Medium Business Award. Atlantic are the owners of the very successful specialist event venues at Melbourne’s Central Pier Docklands

I look forward to industry feedback on the subject.

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