Event Swag: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

September 3, 2015

The date has been set, rentals arranged, catering confirmed, and RSVPs tracked. It’s time to select the perfect swag for your guests to take with them when they depart your event. Check out our picks of swag for destination marketing organizations that media, travel agents and meeting planners will love… and loathe.

The Good: Utility and Edibles

We’re fans of gifts that ignite your attendees’ senses and give them a better taste of your destination. These items are the most likely to be Tweeted after an event. A few of our favorites include:

  • Non-perishable, easy to transport food items that are unique to your destination (jams, chocolates, nuts, homemade sodas, coffee, etc.)
  • Booze from area brewers, vintners, distillers
  • Access to a Spotify playlist with tunes from destination artists
  • Sachets that smell reminiscent of your destination

Guests also appreciate utilitarian swag. While these items are less likely to garner any social media playback, they do offer opportunities for continued brand exposure for your destination long after the event concludes. A few favorite branded gifts that offer utility include:

  • Mobile chargers
  • Battery packs
  • Moleskines
  • Mobile screen cleaners
  • International adapters

The Bad: Bulk

Sending guests home with bulky gifts is a big faux pas. Gift bags should weigh no more than 5 lbs. and the bag should be no larger than 15×15 inches. This golden rule is especially important in big cities where attendees will likely schlep home via public transportation or car service. If your swag bag item is awesome but bulky, offer to ship or courier the swag back to your guests’ homes/offices to save them a brutal commute.

The Ugly: Branding for the Sake of Branding

While your DMO team may take pride in your logo and branding efforts, your guests will be less enthused by generic take-aways embellished with your branding. Say hasta mañana to general branded swag offenders including:

  • Key chains
  • Pens
  • Mugs
  • Koozies
  • T-shirts
  • Laptop bag

Have other ideas about what makes a memorable memento for your travel industry guests?  Tweet us @aboutDCI.

Megan McHale

Written by Megan McHale

Since joining the team in 2012, she has planned special events, landed strategic media coverage and implemented social media campaigns for destination clients.

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