SWAG: We all get it (hence the acronym: stuff we all get). But do we really want all of the “it” that we get? We asked event planners and hospitality insiders to share with us their best and worst SWAG items—what they keep on hand and what gets tossed in the bin.

Best: Items that are useful, such as power banks, TSA liquids bags and thumb drives.
Worst: Toys/trinkets that end up in the waste; candy and snacks. (Don’t we get enough at the show?)

- Janis Ross, CMP, Vice President of Convention & Sports Marketing, Travel Lane County

Best: I love getting slippers for the room. 
Worst (or at least overdone): There’s nothing I hate, but I have enough cloth glass wipes!

- Tara Thomas, CMP, DMCP, Sales Manager, Ruth's Chris 

Best: A portable charging station. You can’t be on-site with a cell phone, mobile hot spot, etc., without a portable charging station. And of course, it is branded so everyone knows where you received such a gem.

And a key-chain box cutter. Sounds weird, but once you get on-site you need to open so many boxes, and it always comes in handy. Although I do not put it on my key chain, I do have it in my backpack. It’s TSA-friendly too!

- Dana Colwell, CMP Conference Manager, Washington State University 

Best: The piece of SWAG that I have loved the best and used for years is a Brighton lanyard. As an event planner, I am constantly wearing a badge and I get so many compliments when I wear it.  

Worst: Phone screen wipes. They get grimy, and I never use them to clean my phone. After a few months, I just throw them away.

- Lacey Hein, CMP, Senior Event Marketing Manager, Concur

There aren’t enough dysphemisms in the English language for 2020. The good news is that the light at the end of the tunnel is coming in 2021, but we still expect to see conferences continue in virtual or hybrid environments. I can safely say that we miss the human element, such as socializing and networking, but I want to acknowledge that there are benefits to virtual.

According to a recent survey by Bizzabo, nearly two-thirds of event marketers believe tools to engage virtual attendees will play a key role in 2021.

 

With restrictions across the country in a state of constant flux, not everyone is ready to jump back into meeting in person. While some planners are eager to get back to “normal,” the long-term adjustment to new protocols and potential risks make some hesitant to gather.

While wearing masks and social distancing can help keep attendees safe, intentional design choices—such as including natureinspired elements and materials and plenty of plants—can also help calm attendees.

 

With executive orders and restrictions across the country in a state of constant flux, not everyone is ready to jump back into meeting in person. While some planners are eager to get back to “normal,” the long-term adjustment to new meeting protocols and potential risks make some hesitant to gather.

While wearing masks and social distancing can help keep attendees safe, intentional design choices—such as including nature-inspired elements and materials and plenty of plants—can also help to calm attendees.