10 tips to consider when making gift selections for meeting participants:
Theme the gift to the location. For example, beach bags filled with a branded beach towel, sunglasses and mini bottles of sunscreen and hand sanitizer are perfect for beach or resort meeting locales.
Local items are always meaningful. Bar-b-que sauces, home canned or dried fruit or locally made soaps pique the interest of registrants, especially if they come with a note about their origin and how to order.
Consider replacing high-ticket gifts with random recognition throughout the meeting. Supply staff with low dollar gift cards, movie passes, special seating assignments, etc. and ask them to distribute at random times throughout the event. Attach a note of appreciation to each card. The surprise element creates buzz amongst registrants.
Understand who can and cannot receive gifts. Many government employees have strict limitations on what can be accepted and at what dollar amount.
Consider limiting gifts to only those who meet the Early Bird Registrant cut-off date.
Leave a photo and gift description in the guest room with a note explaining this gift will be awaiting them at home. This solves the portability issue and eliminates shipping logistics and expenses.
In lieu of registrant gifts, make a donation to a scholarship fund or non-profit organization and communicate this gesture from the podium and on meeting materials. Registrants may also contribute to this cause while at the meeting. Set up an on-site or online location for donations.
Individual incentive travel is quickly replacing group travel awards. Winners, who often spend a great deal of time at work, prefer to connect with family or significant others for these trips instead of spending more time with professional personnel.
Multi-tier gifts. Present speakers different gifts than meeting registrants.
Avoid placing gifts in meeting rooms; they become distractions to presenters.
What Gifts Are Hot Now
Most of these can be custom branded and packed with gourmet treats.
• Airline lounge one-day passes
• Table tennis racket and ping pong balls
• Charm bracelets with a charm, especially for annual meetings
• Cloth laundry bags
• Garden accessories and tool sets
• Automotive tool kits
• Golf putting sets, caddy coolers and umbrellas
• Indoor/outdoor wireless thermometers
• Outdoor backpacks and totes
• Wine totes and carriers
• Change purses