The Ins and Outs of Event Goodie Bags

We all have them… the secret stash of event and conference goodie bags lurking at the back of the closet. Chances are you don’t even remember what most of them contain. Admittedly, we all take one peek inside the bag, browsing for that kitsch-looking pen you can keep in your handbag or briefcase for emergencies. Everything else is of little interest. Over the years, goodie bags seem to have become little more than a formality. Like the cursory bag of stale Jordan almonds at a wedding reception. With just a little forethought, they could be so much more. Promotional bags and products are a $19.4 billion industry. It’s about time event organisers started putting in a little more effort.

Top 5 No-No Items

To make things simpler, it’s worth eliminating the following 5 items from any goodie bag list:

  • Pens
  • Tote Bags
  • Mousepads
  • Stress/Foam Balls
  • Random office supplies
  • Wristbands (or anything clothing besides t-shirts)

These are items that no one wants or needs. It’s time to start thinking of guests as human beings with a real life beyond the event.

Get a Little Personal

Event bags are the organiser’s way of thanking guests for attending. Quite obviously, it is impossible to personalise each bag for each individual guest. There is, however, a way to make the bag an integral part of the event experience.

Event Manager Blog suggests the following: "Set a goal that you want the bag to achieve. Just giving people a place to stash junk and office supplies is a wasted opportunity. Communicate the strategy to workshop leaders and exhibitors. Enlist them in the plan."

Try to think of travel-sized gifts that attendees might think of as a little luxury. “Usefulness” can sometimes be overrated. People like to feel special – it makes for a memorable event.

Avoid a Design Faux Pas

Style should never be overlooked. Goodie bags should have a little bit of a designer feel. If you can swing it, aim for a recyclable material in an effort to keep the event eco-friendly. Work in your CSR wherever possible.

Aim for a “dynamite in small packages” vibe. Keep it vibrant, punchy, and eye-catching but remember that your guests will need to lug the bag around all day. Bigger isn’t always better, but beauty certainly wins out.