SITE Crystal Award Case Study: The Power of Experience

This 2024 winner created a series of immersive experiences that captivated the incentive qualifiers while creating a meaningful impact

The annual Crystal Awards program run by SITE (Society for Incentive Travel Excellence) recognizes outstanding incentive programs in a variety of geographic and solution-driven categories. The Destination Management Company, Portugal Travel Team was this year’s winner in the Best Destination-Based Experiential Incentive Travel Program category for a program that brought the top achievers for financial services firm Canaccord Genuity to Lisbon for the company’s Chairman’s Council event in May 2023.

Here’s a look at what they created.

The Portugal Travel Team crafted a world-class incentive travel experience for their Canadian wealth management client by presenting attendees with top- level, personalized experiences at every step. This program marked a significant change for Portugal Travel Team’s client, with the client opting to plan and execute their prestigious Chairman’s Council program in-house for the first time.

Getting Their Kicks

One of the biggest highlights started with timing the program to overlap with a local championship soccer match. While the atmosphere of a high-energy final match alone made for an unbeatable experience, the DMC topped the match day off with personalized jerseys to get attendees in the spirit and a pre-game rooftop session with the club’s mascot, a live eagle.

Opera Surprize

Another surprise moment tapped directly into the client CEO’s passion for opera. During a Michelin-star meal, guests were treated to a live flash mob opera performance. The performers dressed as restaurant employees and spent the first part of the evening delivering food and drinks, only to turn around and deliver a timelessly beautiful performance!

Bespoke Recognition

Portugal Travel Team also delivered incredibly personalized experiences to ensure qualifiers and
their guests could make the most of their time in their destination and see or do what interested them most.

After treating attendees to a bespoke catamaran experience, for instance, Portugal Travel Team transitioned the group into a tuk-tuk (a three-wheeled vehicle with an engine, often used as a taxi in some parts of the world) tour with a twist. Guests directed their tuk-tuk drivers wherever they wished to go — and could decide on their own if they wanted time to relax at their hotel or venture into Lisbon’s Belém Quarter and continue exploring.

Similarly, for the gala dinner evening, Portugal Travel Team organized individual luxury sedans to transport each couple to the evening festivities. Everyone was then able to arrive and depart at their leisure in the comfort of a convenient, chauffeured ride.

The end results of Portugal Travel Team’s efforts to present the very best their destination definitely paid off. Program participants said their time in Lisbon elevated their camaraderie and inspiration. They also said the program helped them feel more connected to the client’s mission, with one advisor even saying on the final evening that being part of the program had rekindled her passion for wealth management.

Any thoughts, opinions, or news? Please share them with me at

Can Your Attendees Pack a Week’s Wardrobe in a Carry-On?

Here are seven packing tips planners can send their attendees to help them to fit everything they'll need for the event into one carry-on. Come to think of it, planners should follow these tips as well.


to receive every two weeks our newsletter with unique meeting event planning information!

* indicates required