While trade shows and large gatherings are on hold during the COVID-19 pandemic, we put together this guide with the future in mind. As Cvent CEO & Founder Reggie Aggarwal said, "We learn, we adapt, and we collaborate. As we navigate the uncertain times ahead, I can confidently say that the only way through is together. We prepare now for the better times ahead."
Taking that into consideration, we hope these trade show giveaway ideas will help you plan ahead and jump-start your bookings. Check out these practical suggestions real brands have used at leading conferences and trade shows, as well as how to personalize it all.
Discover 14 of our favorite trade show giveaway ideas:
In this section, you will find a variety of options to wow attendees with. These trade show giveaway ideas range from cheap and creative to tech-heavy and extremely popular. But every suggestion includes some advice on why audiences love it as well as how you can make it stand out even more.
1. Paper craft postcard.
Paper craft postcards are regular business postcards on the front, but on the back they display an activity you can actually do. For example, a drone company might include a cut-out design for a mini paper version of their craft you can shoot with a rubber band.
Why attendees love it: It’s fun for kids and adults. Plus it symbolizes your hotel’s ability to facilitate both communication and community.
How to make it your own: Find an activity that either represents your property or provides something useful for attendees (like a crossword to keep them occupied on the plane or a space to make a gratitude list).
2. Curated stickers.
Just like paper craft postcards, this trade show giveaway idea is also a hit among parents with young kids.
Why attendees love it: If they’re already a fan of your hotel, they’ll gladly stick one on their laptop case or water bottle. And if they’re just now learning about your hotel, they may love the design of the stickers so much that they’ll proudly display them anyway.
How to make it your own: Collaborate with local or well-known industry artists and graphic designers to come up with a design attendees will love. It’s a great way to boost your hotel’s marketing efforts as well.
3. See-through logo backpack.
Backpacks and totes are a little overdone at trade shows, but a see-through version will help you stand out in the crowd.
Why attendees love it: It’s practical for getting through security lines quickly and stashing other swag they receive during the show. Plus most event planners appreciate it when a hotel can anticipate their needs, which this item certainly does.
How to make it your own: In addition to a strategic logo placement, use your brand colors for the straps and zippers.
4. Styrofoam sports ball.
Footballs and baseballs made from sturdy-yet-soft material are sure to score you some points at your next trade show. Make sure to pair this fun giveaway with a campaign that emphasizes your hotel’s ability to provide work and play opportunities for event planners.
Why attendees love it: These solid-colored balls can be tossed around and played with during (and well after) the trade show.
How to make it your own: Make sure you add a logo to one or both sides in a complementary color.
5. Metallic logo fanny pack.
This modern and stylish take on traditional fanny packs is as practical as it is aesthetically pleasing.
Why attendees love it: Besides the obvious advantages of being hands-free at a trade show, attendees will get a lot of use out of these fanny packs (at events they’re managing, related conferences, etc.) after the trade show ends.
How to make it your own: Choose a shimmer or color base that goes with your brand and, as always, place a tasteful logo somewhere on the outside. And add some small items that planners love, like free highlighters, post-it notes, or even a branded pocket calendar.
6. Retractable keyboard brush.
This trade show giveaway idea will dust crumbs out from in-between keys and difficult-to-reach hardware grooves.
Why attendees love it: It’s inconspicuous and portable, which means it can be used on laptops and tablet keyboards on the go. And since planners are known for multi-tasking, it’s no surprise that a few sandwich crumbs make their way into electronics from time to time.
How to make it your own: Use the keyboard brush on one end then include another related yet equally useful tool on the other end (like a USB drive, screen wiper sponge, etc.).
7. USB business card with free cloud storage.
Add your business contact information to a USB thumbnail drive and offer a one-year subscription to a free cloud storage system that links up with the USB.
Why attendees love it: It’s much more useful than plain old business card thanks to the extra physical and digital storage you’re providing. Add a direct phone number for your hotel’s events hotline or a link to your website so they can easily get a hold of booking information when they need it.
How to make it your own: Now’s a great time to review your event partners’ specialties to see if you can add a companion service onto your USB drive business card.
8. Branded car charger with cables.
Supply attendees with a charger that includes micro USB and USB-C cables as well as a color and logo to represent your brand.
Why attendees love it: Some of the attendees will have to rent a car when they travel to the trade show, so this will help them keep their many electronics ready to go for the entire event. And because event planners are often responsible for charging multiple devices (their own and everyone else’s), you know they’ll get a lot of use out of this one.
How to make it your own: Choose a cable color (like pink or orange) or cable guard (to prevent tearing) that stands out.
9. Custom laptop satchel.
Event planners appreciate having extra space for their on-the-go lifestyle, and a customized laptop bag certainly does the trick.
Why attendees love it: They’re probably getting a lot of totes at the event, so a satchel will really stand out as being easier to carry and more stylish. You can also include a bonus gift like an umbrella or sunscreen keychain on the bag to remind them of the weather you have at your hotel location.
How to make it your own: Add an interesting quote or tagline to the inside flap of the bag so they’ll be reminded of your brand every time they open it.
10. Anti-fray mouse mat.
Anti-fray mouse mats are strong and long-lasting, which makes them ideal for gaming, travel, and extended use.
Why attendees love it: Most event planners go through a few mouse mats in their life, so they’ll really appreciate having one on hand when they’re in a pinch. Make sure to display your hotel’s logo and a first-time event space booking discount code or something of the sort.
How to make it your own: Add a wrist rest or an unusual shape to make it stand out more.
11. 10-in-1 tool card.
These credit card-shaped multi-tools include a bottle cap opener, screwdriver, inch ruler, and more in one single card that fits into wallets.
Why attendees love it: It’s easy to carry since it’s so light and small, and it offers a handful of on-the-go solutions.
How to make it your own: If you can, try to add a tool to the design that directly applies to event planners, such as a mini screwdriver for eyeglasses or a letter opener.
12. Phone case ring kickstand.
This ring attaches to the back of any phone case and can be used as both a phone grip and a kickstand for easy video or screen viewing on flat surfaces.
Why attendees love it: It’s the kind of product they’ll use every time they pick up their cell phone. You can also pair this product with a marketing campaign focused on all of the technology and presentation materials you have at your location(s).
How to make it your own: Choose marble or some other unique pattern for the design on the base of the ring.
13. Wireless charger.
Users can simply lay their phones or other electronics on top of it to power up their devices.
Why attendees love it: This extremely practical item will likely live in their backpacks and briefcases forever. As we’ve already touched on, planners have a lot of electronics to manage at once, so they’ll really appreciate your ability to anticipate their needs.
How to make it your own: Choose a design that uses an interesting element like clear or translucent edges, or even multi-colored blinking lights.
14. Memory card holder keychain.
Skip USBs and go with a portable sleeve or pop-out box for SD memory cards. Event planners can use them for photo and video storage at other events, reminding them of your hotel every time.
Why attendees love it: Anyone who takes a lot of photos and videos or likes to game will get a lot of use out of this item.
How to make it your own: Add a logo, quote, or photo to your memory card case.