Research / The AI Revolution: A Technical Review of AI Capabilities for Corporate Events, Rewards & Incentives 

Artificial Intelligence

The AI Revolution: A Technical Review of AI Capabilities for Corporate Events, Rewards & Incentives 

by Incentive Research Foundation

The capabilities and possibilities provided by AI can seem limitless. The AI Revolution provides corporate events, rewards, and incentives professionals with a comprehensive overview of what they can accomplish using AI. While generative AI tools like ChatGPT provide just a glimpse of what is possible, advanced AI can be used to enhance personalization, streamline operations, predict trends, and elevate engagement levels. Take a deep dive into what AI makes possible now and what will likely be possible very soon. This guidebook discusses AI capabilities, lists platform options, provides technical explanations, and predicts sophisticated use of the technology to enhance incentive and recognition programs. 

In today’s business landscape, artificial intelligence (AI) is reshaping the management of incentives, events, meetings, travel, rewards, and recognition across various industries. This transformation is driven by AI’s capacity to enhance personalization, streamline operations, predict trends, and elevate engagement levels. As AI continues to evolve, maintaining adaptability and staying well-informed is paramount. 

In sectors as interpersonal and human-focused as incentives, rewards, events, and hospitality, AI’s impact on the workforce is expected to be complementary rather than disruptive, at least in the foreseeable future. Embracing AI in incentive design, reward fulfillment, events, and hospitality means gearing up for a future where work becomes not only more efficient and innovative but also more attuned to human needs. Like other fields, leaders in the incentives industry should evaluate AI’s potential across all facets of their operations and make strategic decisions regarding experimentation and adoption. 

AI’s analytical capabilities delve deep into employee behaviors, preferences, and performance, enabling organizations to make informed decisions when refining their incentive and recognition strategies. Through AI, program structures become more adaptable, communications more precise, and evaluation models more predictive. 

Insights gleaned from incentive program owners and industry contributors underscore AI’s transformative role in both travel and non-travel incentives. Leveraging AI’s ability to discern and cater to individual preferences holds immense potential for enhancing engagement and satisfaction with incentive programs. 

For instance, AI-driven personalization in incentive travel can encompass refined content delivery, optimized air travel options, tailored destinations, and bespoke on-site experiences tailored to individual preferences. As AI technology advances, organizations that embrace and adapt these innovations are poised to lead the competitive race, achieving organizational goals with increased agility and strategic insight. 

The overarching message from our interviews and literature review emphasizes embracing change, fostering agility in learning and adopting new technologies, and strategically selecting AI tools based on organizational context and priorities. Our interviews also reveal that the industry is somewhat slow to adopt AI, so within this guide we are sharing various options for AI-infused technology or pure AI technology that incentive program owners may find useful. 

Companies that strategically integrate AI into their processes, particularly in analytics, personalization, and operational efficiency, stand to thrive in the future. 

Interviewees for this guide, predominantly at the forefront of AI adoption or tool design, highlight AI’s transformative impact on the incentives, travel, and events industry. To capitalize on AI’s potential, interviewees stress the importance of AI literacy and the need for increased awareness and knowledge among industry professionals. Continuous learning and adaptation are deemed crucial given the dynamic nature of AI technology. 

In terms of current use cases, advanced AI applications such as AI chatbots with visual avatars are enhancing attendee experiences at events, while facial recognition technology provides real-time feedback on audience engagement. AI’s automation capabilities significantly reduce workload before events, streamlining tasks like email creation and session planning. 

“AI enhances recognition programs, ensuring consistency across an organization as it raises the standard of acknowledgment.” – Interviewee 

Interviewees underscore AI’s value in incentive program design, emphasizing personalization, risk mitigation, and outcome evaluation. The development and customization of AI tools like ChatGPT for internal use are highlighted for their effectiveness in crafting tailored communications and conducting research. 

As AI evolves, interviewees anticipate increasingly sophisticated customization in the industry, offering individualized rewards and experiences through smart recommendations. However, maintaining a balance between immersive experiences and data privacy remains a critical consideration. 

“By leveraging AI, we’re witnessing the metamorphosis of rewards programs from one-size-fits-all to one-size-fits-one.” – Interviewee 

Interviewees emphasize two elements crucial to success: high-quality workforce data and the establishment of an AI governance framework tailored to organizational needs. This underscores the importance of maintaining data privacy while aligning AI strategies with corporate objectives. 

AI also serves as a digital assistant, helping with agenda creation for events, and in incentive travel programs by drafting communications and creating content, including multimedia. Not only can AI assist in creating and analyzing content for events and meetings, it can also play a role in post-event or reward program analytics, shaping future planning through enhanced analytics. 

Reflecting on the present reality of AI, interviewees liken its emergence to past technological revolutions, envisioning a future where AI collaborates with human workers rather than supplanting them. Agility and adaptability are highlighted as essential traits in navigating rapid technological evolution, urging industry leaders to gradually incorporate AI into business practices to remain competitive. 

“AI’s predictive prowess in the travel industry is turning the art of crafting itineraries into a science of experience curation.” – Interviewee 

Each section of this guidebook expands on the above to present an overview as comprehensive as possible on the use of current and near-future AI in incentives, rewards, events, and travel. It is intended to familiarize you with what’s possible now, what will likely be possible very soon, and how you might leverage AI in whatever aspects of the industry your business serves. 

An important component is the willingness of individuals to experiment with these tools by going into the various applications and using test scenarios or prompts to see what the tool can produce. AI prompts are, essentially, a conversation requesting a specific outcome.  

Part 1: AI-Assisted Incentives and Rewards Design  

Part 2: Employee Recognition and Engagement 

Part 3: Advanced AI for Events, Meetings & Incentive Travel  

Part 4: AI-Assisted Management & Administration for Incentives Industry Professionals 

The suppliers referenced throughout the remainder of this series are not specifically endorsed by the Incentive Research Foundation, nor do they represent the entire breadth of tools and technologies available. They are offered as examples only.  

The Incentive Research Foundation thanks the members of its Research Committee who volunteered to aid in the design, execution, and review of this research.  

We also thank the industry experts interviewed for this research who shared their thoughts, and in some cases, access to their AI tools and platforms: 

  • Nitin Sachdeva, Venture Marketing 
  • Jim Spellos, Meeting U. 
  • Sam Stanton, Boggler 
  • Richelle Suver, One10 
  • Rob Danna, ITA Group 
  • Tim Altbaum, Vario 

Thank you to our Research Advocacy Partner

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