15 Thoughtful Gifts for Event Attendees

Hosting or exhibiting at an event means creating a positive impression on your attendees.

When done thoughtfully and creatively, event giveaways are a unique way to make your special function memorable, and to ensure your attendees feel valued.

In their 2019 Consumer Study, Promotional Products Association International (PPAI) researchers found that 80% of consumers have an immediate reaction when they receive a promotional product from a company they have never heard of, and 79% of promotional product recipients go on to research the company.

In light of this, you’ll need to consider several factors for your event gifts:

  • Are they memorable?
  • Are they high quality and durable?
  • Are they useful?
  • What is their environmental and social impact?

Whether a conference, trade show, charitable occasion or festival, this list contains all you need for the best event swag.

Gift Ideas for Conference Attendees

If you’re organising or attending a conference, giving attendees a small gift can be a wonderful gesture to show appreciation and create a welcoming atmosphere.

The act of giving fosters goodwill among attendees and leaves a lasting impression, establishing a positive association with the event and its organisers or exhibitors.

Conference gifts are always well received, but branded gifts in particular can serve as a powerful tool to reinforce the brand and enhance visibility. Including the conference logo or branding on the gift creates a sense of unity among attendees and boosts the memorability of the event.

But what if you’re hosting a virtual conference? Great news! You can still surprise attendees with a range of exciting virtual gifts.

Even in a virtual space, gifts have a powerful impact. They can generate meaningful conversations, networking opportunities, and social media engagement.

By providing attendees with thoughtful gifts, you create a memorable experience that goes beyond the virtual setting. These surprises show you value their presence and encourages them to share their positive experiences with others.

Discover our top in-person and virtual conference gifts below.

In-person Conference Gifts

15 Thoughtful Gifts for Event Attendees

Gift of Seeds

Gifts can serve as a conversation starter and help facilitate networking among attendees. They can provide a common topic of discussion and help break the ice, which can be particularly helpful for people who are shy or new to the conference.

A Gift of Seeds is a great conversation starter. They interesting to look at and open, and gardening is a universal topic anyone can talk about, even if you don’t have a green thumb.

Create your own branded seed packs with Sow ‘n Sow’s Custom Design option or pick from over 25 varieties of Gifts of Seeds. Each pack features beautiful illustrations and contains a packet of seeds and a plant label for marking where seeds have been planted.

Tip: If you’re ordering 50 or more, make the most of Sow ‘n Sow’s Corporate Giving discount and receive 20% off your order. Alternatively, if you need 500 or more, create a Custom Designed seed pack for added wow factor!

15 Thoughtful Gifts for Event Attendees

Lollies

If you’re looking for a delightful and memorable conference gift idea, consider giving out lollies! SugarStack’s custom branded tiered lolly jars offer a fun and customisable option for conference gifts.

You can choose the stack size, add your logo to their corporate sticker designs, and fill the stacks with a variety of lollies to create a unique and engaging gift experience. To make it even more special, consider matching the lollies to reflect your conference topic. For example, for a cardiology conference, you might want to include heart-shaped lollies in your SugarStacks.

Tip: Remember to consider dietary restrictions and allergies when choosing your lolly varieties. Providing a variety of options, including sugar-free or allergen-friendly alternatives, ensures inclusivity and caters to different preferences.

15 Thoughtful Gifts for Event Attendees

USBs

Avoid the frustration of losing important conference notes by encouraging attendees to save their memos digitally.

USB drives make for practical, customisable, and eco-friendly conference gifts. They provide attendees with a useful and unique gift they can use during and after the event, and they also offer an opportunity to promote your brand or organisation.

According to PPAI’s 2019 Consumer Study, technology items rank among the top three favourite promotional products to receive, making USB drives an ideal choice for giveaways at events.

Virtual Conference Gifts

15 Thoughtful Gifts for Event Attendees

Digital Gift Cards

Reward attendees by providing digital gift cards for popular online retailers or services. This allows attendees to choose something they’ll prefer and to enjoy the flexibility of online shopping.

With platforms like Prezzee, you can easily send digital gift cards from over 300 retail brands to virtual conference participants worldwide within seconds. What’s more, you can add a personal touch by customising each gift with your own video message.

15 Thoughtful Gifts for Event Attendees

Online Courses

Elevate the educational experience of your event by gifting attendees a course from Udemy. Your audience can enhance their skills in sales and marketing or explore hobbies like gardening and photography.

You can handpick professional courses that align with your event’s theme or cater to your attendees’ interests, offering the opportunity to continue their learning journey long after the event concludes.

15 Thoughtful Gifts for Event Attendees

Virtual Swag Bag

Have you considered giving out virtual swag bags to participants of your online events? It’s a great way to reward and engage attendees while promoting your brand.

You can curate a collection of digital items such as exclusive content, discount codes, virtual backgrounds, or downloadable resources like e-books or whitepapers. Then, package them together in a branded email or on a customisable micro-site using platforms like Virtual Event Bags. This allows attendees to easily access and engage with each gift while providing measurable ROI for your company or event sponsors. It’s a win-win for everyone involved!

Tip: To further engage attendees, encourage active participation by incorporating gamification elements into the virtual conference platform through activities, quizzes, or challenges, and reward participants who win. Combine digital gift cards, subscriptions, virtual swag bags and gamification, and create a dynamic and enjoyable virtual conference experience that leaves your attendees feeling appreciated and engaged.

Trade Show Giveaways

Trade shows offer a great opportunity for companies to showcase their products and services and make their brand presence known among potential customers and industry professionals.

In a sea of exhibitors, it can be tough to get noticed and create a lasting impression. That’s where offering trade show gifts comes in handy. By offering thoughtful gifts, you can leave a positive impression that lasts well beyond the event. These gifts serve as a reminder of your brand and can continue to generate value and engagement even after the trade show is over.

Below are three practical options to consider.

15 Thoughtful Gifts for Event Attendees

Pop Up Pots

If your business is focused on nature, sustainability or gardening, there’s no better trade show giveaway than a plant pot to reinforce your brand identity.

If you’re in search of a truly unique plant pot, the Pop Up Pot is the one for you!

Crafted from recycled waste, this amazing pot is both practical and enjoyable to use. It easily pops up from a flat surface into a sturdy and stylish pot that will be adored by any recipient. With their universal appeal, plant pots are an ideal choice to a touch of greenery to everyone’s home.

Tip: If you’re ordering 50 or more, make the most of Sow ‘n Sow’s Corporate Giving discount and receive 20% off your order.

15 Thoughtful Gifts for Event Attendees

Tote Bags

When it comes to trade show gifts, branded tote bags are a savvy choice. They are practical gifts, providing attendees with a convenient way to carry brochures, samples and other promotional materials collected during the event. Tote bags also serve as mobile advertisements, showcasing your logo to a wider audience.

Choosing branded tote bags is in line with the growing focus on sustainability. By promoting the use of reusable bags, you project an eco-friendly image for your brand that resonates with environmentally conscious individuals.

15 Thoughtful Gifts for Event Attendees

Reusable Coffee Cup

Take your event to the next level with Frank Green co-branded ceramic reusable coffee cups.

These sleek and practical cups offer a perfect blend of functionality and brand exposure. Attendees will appreciate the everyday convenience of a high-quality coffee cup, while your logo will ensure your brand remains visible wherever they go.

By promoting reusable cups, you also demonstrate your commitment to sustainability, appealing to environmentally conscious attendees.

Special Event Gift Ideas

When choosing gifts for special events like charity lunches, speaker events, or product launches, it’s important to consider the nature of the event and the preferences of the attendees.

These style events often offer a one-of-a-kind experience that attendees can’t find elsewhere. They bring together people with shared interests and passions and provide a platform for socialising, connecting, and building a sense of community among attendees who share a common enthusiasm for the event’s theme or purpose.

Whether it’s the opportunity to meet influential speakers, witness the unveiling of a new product, make a positive impact by supporting charitable organisations or enjoy a live performance by a renowned artist, special events provide a sense of exclusivity and anticipation.

To enhance the excitement and create a memorable experience for participants, consider incorporating any of these three gift ideas below.

15 Thoughtful Gifts for Event Attendees

Candles

Enhance your event with the gift of candles and create a truly immersive sensory experience. Candles have the remarkable ability to transport attendees back to the event by capturing the unique scent. As they’ll take the candles home, they can continue to relish the memories and ambience of the occasion.

Best of all, you can customise the scents to perfectly match your event. Whether you’re launching a new flavoured product or showcasing a spring collection, you can evoke specific emotions and create a lasting impression that lingers long after your event has ended.

15 Thoughtful Gifts for Event Attendees

Chocolates

Surprise and delight your guests with personalised chocolate gifts. Not only are they delicious, but they’ll also create a personal connection between your guests and your brand. Plus, adding your logo to the packaging gives you a great branding opportunity that people won’t forget.

With plenty of customisation options available, you can make sure everyone gets a treat they’ll love. We recommend ChocaBlock Chocolates’ Personalised Chocolate Freckles as an affordable and fun option that’s sure to impress.

Tip: When choosing chocolates to offer, it’s important to keep dietary restrictions and allergies in mind. It’s a good idea to provide various options, including sugar-free or allergen-friendly alternatives, to ensure everyone can enjoy a sweet treat without worrying about any adverse reactions.

15 Thoughtful Gifts for Event Attendees

Socks

Looking for a way to add a practical yet playful touch to your event? Consider custom-branded socks!

Socks are a must-have item that can be worn during the event or taken home as a useful souvenir. They are also easy to pack, making it more likely that attendees will keep and wear them again.

Featuring your event logo or design, custom-branded socks can help foster a sense of unity among attendees. Plus, they’re an unexpected, fun and memorable gift that can make your event stand out from the rest.

Festival Gift Ideas

Whether it’s centred around music, food and wine, pop culture and comics, religion, or health, festivals are a time of celebration and enjoyment. Giving gifts at your festival will create memorable souvenirs that attendees will forever associate with their experience.

While branded festival gifts can be a form of marketing and promotion for vendors, sponsors, and exhibitors, giving gifts can also help attendees commemorate the once-in-a-lifetime experience and take a piece of it home with them. Below are our top festival gift ideas.

15 Thoughtful Gifts for Event Attendees

Wine Glasses

Wine and food events are often associated with sophistication and elegance, and branded wine glasses can help elevate the overall experience. They can add a touch of exclusivity and luxury and create a classy impression for attendees.

Wine is also often associated with tradition and culture, and gifting branded wine glasses can help celebrate and promote these values while paying homage to the region or country where the wine and food event is taking place.

15 Thoughtful Gifts for Event Attendees

Sunscreen

Sunscreen is an essential item for outdoor events, particularly music festivals where attendees may spend extended periods of time in the sun. Giving sunscreen as a gift at festivals is a practical and thoughtful way to help attendees protect their skin while reinforcing the festival brand.

Sunscreen is an item that everyone can use, regardless of age, gender, or interests. It’s also easy to pack and carry, making it a useful gift for attendees to take home and use again in the future.

15 Thoughtful Gifts for Event Attendees

Reusable Straws

If you’re hosting an event where you’re serving beverages, then make it more eco-friendly by ditching single-use plastic straws and opting for reusable alternatives. Providing custom branded straws for attendees not only reduces waste but also promotes environmental consciousness.

We recommend The Other Straw’s range of Bamboo Straws. They are stylish and durable, and they also contribute to a more sustainable future by donating 50% of their profits to ocean clean-ups.

Gift Ideas for Event Attendees: Frequently Asked Questions

What do you give away at an expo?

When it comes to giveaways at expos, it’s important to make them effective and impactful. Consider these six things when planning your expo giveaways:

Memorability: Choose items that will leave a lasting impression on attendees. Unique or distinctive items that stand out from the usual giveaways are more likely to be remembered and associated with your brand or organisation.

Durability: Select items that are durable and able to withstand the rigours of being carried around during the expo and beyond. This ensures that the giveaways remain in good condition, prolonging their visibility and impact.

Quality: Opt for high-quality items that reflect positively on your brand. Items that are well-made and demonstrate quality craftsmanship enhance the perceived value and make a stronger impression on recipients.

Usefulness: Consider the practicality and usefulness of your giveaways. Items that serve a purpose or solve a problem for attendees are more likely to be appreciated and utilised. The more value and utility the giveaways offer, the more likely they will be retained and associated with your brand.

Environmental Impact: With growing concerns about sustainability, consider the environmental impact of your gifts. Choose eco-friendly items made from sustainable materials, or opt for reusable and recyclable products. This demonstrates your commitment to sustainability and resonates with attendees who value environmentally conscious choices.

Social Impact: Consider the potential social impact of the giveaways. Partner with organisations or include items that support social causes or charitable initiatives. This can create a positive association with your brand and contribute to a sense of purpose and community engagement.

What is event swag?

The term “swag” stands for “Stuff We All Get.” It refers to the assortment of promotional items or gifts that are distributed to individuals attending events, conferences, or trade shows. These items are commonly placed in a bag which is referred to as a swag bag.

Swag bags can be seen as the adult equivalent of party bags or doggy bags. Party bags are given to guests at children’s parties as a token of appreciation and enjoyment, and swag bags serve a similar purpose for adult attendees at events.

Swag bags enhance brand visibility, create a sense of excitement and goodwill, and provide attendees with useful or interesting items that they can enjoy or benefit from.

Swag bags can range from small tote bags to larger backpacks, and they are often customised with the event or sponsor’s branding.

The bags are usually distributed at registration or as attendees leave the event. This contributes to the overall event experience by adding an element of surprise and delight for participants, and allows event organisers or sponsors to show their gratitude to those attending the event.

Read more: 15 Meaningful Client Gifts that Show Your Appreciation

How many giveaways should I bring to a trade show or conference?

Calculating the right number of giveaways to take to a trade show or conference is a challenging task as there are many factors to consider, including your budget, the quality of the items, the duration of the event, and the expected number of attendees. These variables produce different results for every business and event, so there’s no accurate or set formula for calculating the number of gifts you will need.

Before purchasing your conference or trade show giveaways, we recommend setting a budget. Consider the number of days the event will run for and number of attendees expected to visit your booth or attend the conference. Then, determine how much you are willing to spend per item. This will influence the quantity and quality of the giveaways you can provide.

It’s often better to prioritise quality over quantity when it comes to giveaways. If you find you have a limited budget, offering fewer, high-quality items can make a stronger impact and leave a better impression on attendees. It’s also a good idea to have extra giveaways on hand in case unexpected circumstances arise, or if your initial supply runs out faster than anticipated.

Ultimately, finding the right balance between appropriate spending and quantity depends on your specific goals, budget, and the perceived value of the giveaways.

It’s crucial to assess the potential return on investment and prioritise quality and relevance to make a lasting impression on attendees. Conducting research, consulting with event organisers or industry experts, and analysing past experiences can help you make an informed decision about the number of giveaways to bring to a trade show or conference.

What not to gift at an event?

When selecting gifts for an event, it’s important ensure that the gifts are appropriate, practical, and well-received by the attendees. Here are some considerations for items to avoid gifting at an event:

  1. Gifts that won’t travel well: Avoid gifting items that are difficult to transport or may cause issues during travel. Examples include liquids or items that may leak, sharp objects that may pose a safety hazard, or large items that are cumbersome to carry.
  2. Perishable items: Avoid gifting perishable items such as food or fresh flowers, unless the event specifically calls for it and proper arrangements are in place to ensure their freshness and distribution.
  3. Offensive or inappropriate items: Stay away from gifts that may be offensive, inappropriate, or controversial in nature. This includes items with explicit or offensive language, offensive imagery, or anything that promotes sensitive topics or stereotypes. It’s essential to maintain a respectful and inclusive atmosphere at the event.
  4. Personalised or intimate items: Avoid gifting items that are too personal or intimate, as they can make recipients feel uncomfortable or invade their privacy. Examples include personal hygiene products, undergarments, or items of a highly personal nature. Also steer clear of gifting items such as clothing or accessories that require specific sizing or personalisation. It can be challenging to accurately determine sizes for a diverse group of attendees, leading to potential dissatisfaction or inconvenience.
  5. Religious or political items: Refrain from giving gifts with strong religious or political connotations, as they may not align with everyone’s beliefs or preferences. To maintain a neutral and inclusive environment, it’s best to avoid items that may cause discomfort or controversy.
  6. Expensive or extravagant gifts: While it’s important to show appreciation, avoid gifts that are excessively expensive or extravagant. Such gifts can create an uncomfortable or awkward dynamic among recipients, especially if there is a significant discrepancy in the value of the gifts received.
  7. Poor quality or cheaply made items: Choose gifts that reflect the value and professionalism of the event. Avoid gifting low-quality or poorly made items, as they may leave a negative impression or fail to make a lasting impact. Opt for gifts that are well-crafted and durable.
  8. Culturally inappropriate items: Respect the diversity of attendees and ensure that the gifts are culturally appropriate. Avoid items that may offend or exclude any particular cultural group. It’s important to be mindful and sensitive to different cultural backgrounds and customs.

Gifts to Grow

Embedded and inspired by nature, Sow ’n Sow believe in purposeful gifting that doesn’t cost the planet.

From a small seed of an idea, Sow ’n Sow was dreamt up by founder Michelle Brady combining her love of gardening and flair for design in 2010.

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