Why Experiences

Employee recognition examples: 2023 Blueboard experiences in review

The numbers are in: we're so excited to report that throughout 2023, Blueboard clients recognized nearly 30,000 high-performing employees and sent them #blueboarding (our term for going on experiences).

Blueboard’s Concierge partnered with those employees to send them (and their friends, family, and loved ones) on experiences that helped them indulge in a passion, experience something new, and/or challenge their comfort zone. In total, that's 42,293 people who went on Blueboard experiences in 2023 and thousands of memorable moments created.

But where did their Blueboard reward take them? Our 2023 experience wrap-up shares our learnings, gleaned from reward recipients who were recognized by their workplaces with Blueboard rewards, including:

  • What our clients’ reward recipients chose to do from our curated experience menu
  • Where recipients traveled to enjoy their Blueboard rewards (and our top 10 destinations)
  • Which employee recognition programs recipients participated in
  • Who some of our top local experience providers are

From spending invaluable quality time with loved ones to reconnecting with a personal hobby (or discovering a new one), to giving back by supporting charities and causes, we continue to be driven and inspired by our clients’ commitment to recognizing their employees with the moments and memories that matter most to them.

Employee recognition in action: Blueboard experiences by the numbers. 

Everyone enjoys #blueboarding in their own way,  whether they want to adventure solo or spend time with the people most important to them. Blueboard’s curated experience menu gives your reward recipients the power of choice—the ability to choose which experience will be most meaningful to them

For some folks, it’s taking a bucket-list trip to Europe with family, and for others it’s getting a much-needed massage at a top local spa or getting prime tickets to see your favorite sports team.

In 2023, people were focused on entertainment and relaxation. In fact, 60% of our recipients chose experiences that allowed them to slow down, take in a show, and cheer on their favorite team with experiences like “Get Tickets to a Show” “Sip Gracefully,” and “Personal Massage or Facial”.

From spa days to fine dining, these are just some of the amazing experiences our clients recognized employees with in 2023 with Blueboard employee rewards.

Here’s a round-up of what recipients experienced in 2023: 

  • 4,753 employee reward recipients got tickets to a show, concert, or sports event
  • 2,400 recipients said “ahh…” at the spa with a personal massage
  • 2,327 recipients dined finely at spectacular restaurants
  • 1,495 recipients learned something new, including new languages and pottery
  • 490 recipients sipped “grapefully” with an in-home sommelier and wine tasting experience
  • 461 recipients took to the skies in a helicopter, plane or with a flying lesson
  • 375 recipients spent the day admiring animals, at the zoo or the aquarium
  • 2,072 recipients “staycationed” this year in 366 unique cities, including Olympic Valley, Colorado Springs, Muntinlupa, Bengaluru, London, and Hyderabad

Making a difference with donations.

Our “Make a Difference” category gives recipients the option to donate their reward to a cause that they’re passionate about. In 2023, generous Blueboard reward recipients donated almost $70,000 to causes like:

  • Hawai‘i Community Foundation
  • Ukraine Now
  • Nova Ukraine
  • Project Hope
  • Crohn's & Colitis Foundation

But the intention and thoughtfulness in how people incorporate Blueboard experiences into their lives doesn’t stop there. Many of our recipients take the opportunity to celebrate a special occasion with their Blueboard reward. From birthdays to wedding anniversaries, our experiences have been the setting for some major life events, including two especially memorable marriage proposals in 2023:

An employee recipient proposed during the “Swiss Alps Adventure” experience.

As part of a work anniversary gift—a Blueboard reward—from his company, Cameron D. planned to pop the question. Against the stunning backdrop of the Zermatt landscape (one of the towns they stayed in during the trip) a mountain resort nestled in the valley of the iconic Mt. Matterhorn, Cameron asked then-girlfriend Carissa to marry him. 

A color photo of two people smiling after getting engaged to be married. One person is holding their hand up to show off their engagement ring.
She said yes! Work anniversary reward recipient Cameron D. captures this unforgettable moment while on the “Swiss Alps Adventure,” a Blueboard experience.

“The entire trip, and the attention to detail, was amazing,” shares Cameron in the post-experience feedback survey. “The hotel selection in Zurich, as well as all the other stops, was excellent based on ease of getting to and from the train station!”

An employee recipient proposed while on the “Luxury Glamping Getaway” experience. 

As part of his workplace’s anniversary employee recognition program, Kidder S. chose the “Luxury Glamping Getaway” experience from Blueboard. Two nights in a luxury glamping site to “reconnect with nature and clear your mind” turned out to be the perfect setting for a marriage proposal by Kidder S.

A color photo of two people smiling and posing with bikes while on a coastal bike ride after just getting engaged.
The newly engaged couple proudly shows off their news–and the ring!–while on a Blueboard experience–a work anniversary gift from Kidder’s employer.

Research shows experiential rewards have nearly 4x more impact on EX than any other reward type.

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Globetrotters: Where our clients’ employee reward recipients traveled for their experience. 

Our Concierge team sent people on experiences all over the world in 2023, but two countries emerged as top travel destinations: 90 travelers adventured in Spain and Italy with exciting experiences like “A Taste of Marabella,” “The Flamenco Dance Experience,” and “All Roads Lead to Rome”.

And here are the top 10 countries our recipients visited in 2023:

  • Spain & Italy
  • France
  • Mexico
  • United Kingdom
  • Turks and Caicos & Greece
  • Norway
  • Iceland & Costa Rica
  • Canada
  • Japan
  • Australia

Blueboard’s Curation team is always searching the world for exciting new experiences for our recipients. In 2023, we gave recipients the option to go on nearly 200 new adventures such as “Peruvian Panorama,” “The Ultimate Indonesian Escape,” “My Big Fat Greek Getaway,” and “Oslo Sights and City Lights.”

Nick H. and family enjoy a fabulous trip to Tuscany as part of Catchpoint’s 2023 President’s Club reward: A personalized incentive trip from Blueboard.

Some of the top Blueboard travel experiences in 2023 included: 

  • Snowy Ski-cation
  • Soaring High Over Kauai
  • Set Sail in Oahu
  • Escape to Turks and Caicos
  • Greek Island Getaway
  • All Roads Lead to Rome
  • Fjord Your Way Through Norway
  • Ocean Quest Experience
  • Discover Broadway in NYC
  • Legendary London

Here were our most popular employee recognition and rewards programs in 2023.

Our employee rewards programs are designed to help organizations elevate milestone moments—from work anniversaries to above and beyond accomplishments—at every stage in the employee lifecycle.

The top employee recognition programs our clients rewarded employees through in 2023:

1. Anniversary gifts/Year of Service Awards. Whether acknowledging individual employees’ milestone work anniversaries at the 3, 5, 10, 15+ year mark, or celebrating each year of service, recognizing work anniversaries is a key ingredient in the success of human resource initiatives that involve employee engagement and retention. They also provide an opportunity to re-engage and re-recruit your people at a critical evaluation touch point with rewards that match their dedication to your organization.

2. Spot Rewards. With spot recognition, or rewards given at any time, our clients empower managers and department heads to send meaningful, personalized employee rewards to high performers in seconds. Spot rewards allow companies to reward and recognize above and beyond contributions in real time and emphasize the behaviors and outcomes that drive true impact on the business.

3. Sales Incentives. A good sales team comp plan is table stakes, but incentives are a critical tool when leaders need sellers to change behavior fast—push a new product, chase a competitor, or address a lagging metric. What’s missing from most sales incentive programs? Incentives that stand apart from compensation and can truly drive sales team motivation. While cash SPIFFs once ruled the day, our clients motivate their sales teams with experiential rewards that never get stale.  

4. President’s Club. Club is one of the biggest line items in a sales leaders’ budget. With companies looking carefully at spending in 2023 (and coming years), we saw many leaders re-evaluate the traditional group trip. With Blueboard, sales orgs can cut spend drastically and still wow top sales team performers with personalized incentive trips. Companies get to skip months of planning and huge upfront spend and sellers get to enjoy a luxury reward with zero hassle since our Concierge team takes care of the logistics. Plus: they can share it with friends, family, or colleagues.

Let’s hear it for our experience partners.

Blueboard’s Concierge team carefully curates each experience, and we’re proud to work with amazing local partners and small businesses to bring those experiences to life. 

In the “Relax” category, Hand and Stone Massage and Facial Spa was a popular destination, and Madonna Inn was a top “Getaway” destination.

Cheers to 2024! Here’s to more experiential rewards for employees (and pursuing our passions) in the new year.

Blueboard clients have an amazing impact by recognizing and rewarding their employees with the gift of quality time. Last year, 95% of reward recipients reported that their Blueboard experience made them feel more motivated to perform at a high level, showing the impact of meaningful recognition on employee experience

The sky is literally the limit (as 44 people demonstrated last year when they chose a skydiving experience!), and new experiences are always being added to our experience menus, both locally and all over the world. 

A heartfelt thank you to our clients and recipients for being a part of changing the way we reward and recognize people last year! We can’t wait to see where Blueboard experiences will take our recipients this year.

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As of March 12, 2024, Blueboard has ceased its operations. To everyone that supported us over the years, thank you. 🙏