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Experiences to Reward Employees With

Why Are Employee Rewards Important?

Employee rewards are an integral part of maintaining a productive work environment and keeping employee engagement at a sustainable high. A strategic points-based employee rewards program can be a great way for managers to recognize outstanding performance and positive behaviours and reward staff for efforts that move the business forward.

Through our own studies, we know that if employees are not recognized for their positive behaviours within the first four months of employment, they actively begin to disengage, leading to high turnover and an inability to retain top performers. Even more, it has been proven that companies with highly engaged employees achieve higher customer satisfaction numbers for their own clients.

In these types of employee recognition programs, employees earn reward points for a variety of achievements. Participants accumulate points over time and redeem them for ultra-motivating, ultra-customizable award options such as experiences, merchandise, travel, events, and more.

Every time a program participant receives reward points, they feel the dopamine effect – they feel good about what they’re doing and the things they’ve accomplished. This keeps them focused, directed, and willing to repeat the behaviours.

The Efficacy Continuum

Not all rewards are equal. To make your investment pay off, you need efficacy. Efficacy refers to the ability something has to produce a desired result. We know—and research confirms—that hedonic rewards, or those on the right side of the spectrum below, have higher efficacy than those that are cash or utilitarian-based. 

efficacy continuum


A study by Harris Group found that 72 percent of millennials prefer to spend more money on experiences than on material things. According to Dr. Elizabeth Dunn, Professor of Psychology at the University of British Columbia (UBC), experiential rewards—as fleeting as they may be—deliver more-lasting happiness than material things. Dr. Dunn attributes the temporary happiness achieved by buying things to what she calls “puddles of pleasure”.

In other words, that kind of happiness evaporates quickly and leaves us wanting more. Things may last longer than experiential rewards, but the memories that linger are what matter most.

By offering experiential rewards to your employees, you're creating a reward that your employees will re-live time and time again., and will instill some serious Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) when they post pictures of where they've been.

Inspire with EXPERIENCES.

We recently introduced our Experiences Marketplace. From local wine tastings and brewery tours to weekend getaways, here are seven types of employee rewards and experiences your staff deserve – and really want!

1. Spa Experience

Relaxing music. Relaxing massage. Endless attention. Need we say more? Show appreciation to your employees with some dedicated ‘me time’ by giving them the option to redeem for a spa day. Spa experiences offered under our Experiences Marketplace gives reward participants a safe space to relax, rejuvenate, and de-stress in a wellness environment. Employees will return to work reinvigorated, refreshed, and motivated.

2. Wine Tasting or Brewery Tours

Many people like to wind down with a bottle of beer or a glass of wine. Give employee recognition program participants the opportunity to up their taste level with an Okanagan Valley, Niagara-on-the-Lake, or Vancouver Island Wine Tour or a Historical Brewery Tour in their home city.

wine tasting as an experiential reward

3. Extreme Adventures

The benefits of exercise on our performance in the workplace are well documented, but the last thing you want to reward employees with is a trip to the gym. Instead, look for extreme adventure experiential rewards like zip-lining, white water rafting, kayaking, or even skiing. Not only will this give them an experience they can talk about and share, but exercising creates a sense of euphoria and can even lead to extended periods of increased happiness.

4. Music or Sporting Event Tickets

It's pretty much impossible to find someone who doesn't love either a certain kind of music or a specific sports team. With experiential rewards from our Rewards Marketplace, participants can attend a concert at venues like the Scotiabank Arena or Rogers Arena or more intimate spaces like The Commodore Ballroom. We also offer tickets to plays, museums, fairs, conventions, and theme parks.

world cup as an experiential reward

5. Winter of Summer Getaway

Let your corporate reward program participants book that trip they’ve been waiting to take to visit loved ones, explore a new city or enjoy a change of scenery without leaving the country. No plan? No problem! According to a recent travel rewards study conducted by BI WORLDWIDE, last-minute travel is a popular trend with most travellers booking less than 21 days in advance.

Our Experiences Marketplace Itinerary Builder lets participants pick hotels, flights, rental cars, and experiential rewards, and then keeps track of how many points they need to earn to make it a reality. You can’t beat the drive that comes from knowing your dream is within reach.

6. Staycation

Be a tourist for a day in your home city with local experiential rewards like kayaking, amusement park tickets, a themed walking tour or skip-the-lime zoo passes. Add a hotel or vacation rental to make a weekend out of it!

Expedia Group Media Solutions recently conducted research with a global audience to gather insight into how the pandemic has affected the mindset of travelling (Expedia Group Media Solutions – Traveller Sentiment & Influences 2020/2021). Many of their findings correlate with what we see for points redemption on BI WORLDWIDE’s Experiences Marketplace platform.

They found that 7 in 10 travellers are now willing to drive up to 6 hours for a leisure trip. Rent a car (or use your own) and find things to do along the way. With over 22 categories of experiential rewards to choose from, no two routes will be the same.


7. Cooking Classes in Peterborough

Peterborough, Ontario is known as the gateway to the Kawarthas, "cottage country". Both are known for their breathless beauty and endless activities.

After a day of fun-filled activities, have your participants join a local chef in creating a delicious meal and learning cooking techniques. Participants will also have wine pairings with their meal from local wineries, distilleries, and brew houses.


We know that experiences are the best way to reward employees. They’re more memorable, personal, and shareable than monetary rewards like cash and gift cards. And the best part? They empower employees to indulge in their passions, explore new hobbies, and challenge their comfort zones through thrilling adventures.

And for you? They’re proven to positively impact employee engagement, improve performance rates, and build a culture of recognition that boosts your employee value proposition (EVP) or employer brand (EB).

Ready to take your recognition efforts to the next level? Contact us to learn more about our Experiences Marketplace.

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