Insights for better onsite gifting experiences

Making memories is what on-site gifting experiences are all about, but you want those memories to be good ones. These tips can help make that happen.

Keep “packability” in mind. A gift of a bottle of wine in the room a night or two before an event ends is a nice gesture, but one that is not well thought out, says Jeff Broudy of United Incentives. If the wine goes unopened, it ends up being left on the nightstand and becomes a gift for housekeeping. Also, glassware or other fragile items can arrive home in pieces, and the gift-giver’s good will is broken as well.

Timing matters. Staging a gifting experience early in the event allows recipients to use the gift, be it sunglasses, apparel or a watch, during the rest of the event.

Creativity is good, to a point. Clients are always looking for new and different, explains Tom Romine, founder and president of Cultivate. You don’t want to repeat the same experience for the same participants year after year, but Romine cautions against sacrificing usability of a gift merely to present something unique. You want recipients to use the gift long after the event is over or the effort is pointless.

Don’t go overboard on choice. With large groups, the spectrum of interests is broad. However, it’s best to find a common interest or category that all of the guests will embrace while not overwhelming them with too many styles. “It actually causes the recipient more stress trying to decide what they want,” says Brett Hatch of Maui Jim.

Let suppliers control shipping and inventory. Years of experience and product knowledge provide merchandise suppliers the know-how to ensure that the first person and the last person rewarded has the same product choice, says Brett Williams of Links Unlimited.

Use suppliers who know their product. Because you want to match gift options with participants’ likes while also controlling the number of lines you feature, it’s important to work with suppliers who understand their products. Recipients will have questions about what differentiates one model from another. “I’m not sure,” is not an acceptable answer.

Think crowd control. Staggering groups of participants can keep crowd size manageable and make the “shopping” experience more pleasant for everyone. Smaller groups also enhance the interaction between management and program participants. If you divide groups into sales regions, for example, each group’s regional manager can join the CEO or VP in interacting with the participants as they shop.

Get our newsletter and digital magazine

Sales & Marketing Management

Stay current on learning and development trends, best practices, research, new products and technologies, case studies and much more.