Gift Giving for your events

Trade Show Gift Giving

Published March 2019
Updated September 2022

If you are an Event Manager, Venue Manager, Corporate Trade Show Coordinator, or any type of planner of trade shows then this article is for you.

Have you considered giving gifts to those who are involved with or help you complete your event?

Additionally, consider those who bring great gains to your event, not to mention those who without them you wouldn’t have an event! Moreover consider those that are involved in your event that you would like to honor with a gift of your appreciation. 

There are many reasons to give gifts to those you work with while creating an excellent event:

  • As a thank you to sponsors
  • For those that help you organize and orchestrate the event
  • For those that went above and beyond to get it up and running
  • For those that helped decorate or provided items for display
  • For general goodwill giving to those you work with day in and day out
  • For celebrities and speakers for saying yes to your event
  • Many more reasons-what more reasons can you think of specific to your event? 

The next step would be to make a list of these people and organizations. 

Don't forget:

  • Attendees-certain attendees who won a contest you created
  • Contractors- electricians, booth set-up staff, A/V people
  • Exhibitors-those that signed up during a promotion or provided items for your use
  • Volunteers-it takes a village. They will appreciate that you appreciated them. 

Next step is to choose the appropriate gift for each recipient.

Evaluate the relationship and the message being sent along with what you're looking to accomplish by giving this gift.

  • Appreciation?
  • Reward? For work done or a contest won.
  • Branding? Imprinting your company image on the recipient every time they see the item.
  • Benevolent? Helping those that can't afford certain items. Cushioned flooring can be an easy expense for an event but something an exhibitor leaves out due to cost. Or it could simply be that your event necessitates flooring and you know there will be those that show up without any. Provide it for them! 

wood grain cushioned floor tile


Knowing the reason you're giving the gift, will help you decide on which item to give each recipient.


Gifts like keychains, coffee mugs or water bottles that have your logo and/or information included to keep you top of mind whenever they use it.

branded keychains for giftsbranded water bottlesbranded step counter for trade show gift


Show your appreciation with anything from a gift card to seeds they can plant, food items and small useful items like ear buds, chargers, or step counters. These items are useful to nearly everyone, especially those at an event.

Think about gifts that last like plants and flowers with a thank you note in them from you and your staff. They can enjoy that during the show and well after, even planting once they return home.

thank you plant for trade show gift giving

Consider items that every business person needs like business card holders in the many forms they come in. You can give something as simple as the holder with a thank you card included inside.

business card holder with thank you card included

Brainstorm items that will reflect the theme or industry of the trade show. For a builders show give a tape measure, decorative shovel, or hammer with the event logo and/or website address printed on it. (You can brand any item that you give-you need to decide if the cost is worth it for the reason you're giving it).

If the city that your event is taking place in is important, then what about a picture frame with the city name (bird, logo, or other pertinent information regarding that city) engraved on the frame? You could include a picture of you and your staff in the frame.

Insert handwritten notes with the gifts you give or print something easy that you can use for a large number of gifts. 

You can order your thank you cards at any print shop.

Thank you card with link to ECM to print cards

Do you exhibit in or manage any clothing or jewelry trade shows? A good idea is to give a decorated hanger as a gift to be both decorative and functional for an exhibitor and for a sponsor you can print your event logo on for branding.

For sporting events you could give sporting drinks (think event sponsor!), apparel related to the sport, and how about a belt buckle for rodeo events?

If you're involved with Tech Trade Shows consider giving charging stations, usb's with your logo printed on them, or other items that assist in the techie world.

branded usb-thumbdrive

Note: when giving a usb, or thumb drive, take full advantage and upload a message into each one before giving--the company you purchase these from will do that for you. 

Think through the gift ideas and determine which gifts can work for dual purposes.

Plants or flowers-a nice gift but will also help decorate the booth and event.

A tool, as mentioned above, will reinforce your branding to your sponsors who carry it back to their office with them. And when displayed in a booth by an exhibitor will strengthen the theme of the event.

If a picture frame, then the right frame can also reinforce the theme of the event and help decorate.

      garden picture frame as gift for exhibitors at event


      Giving a business card holder to each exhibitor-is not only a great gift that lasts, but will keep their business cards from being messily displayed on booth countertops while allowing customers to find and take them.

      If you choose to give business card holders to exhibitors, order various colored holders and alternate the colors in the exhibit rows for a fun look to the event.

      If you really have money to spend, give 2 different colors to each exhibitor. They won't go unused!

      If you would like more gift ideas, visit our friends here at EventMB:

      Gift ideas from EventMB


      When giving gifts…be on top of delivery:  

      • Be on top of items being shipped to the event/venue
        • Shipping costs
        • Arrival time
        • Storage if arriving early
        • Direct contact name and phone number of shipper
      • Ensure you will receive the items in time for the event
        • Sign a contract with time lines included
      • Discuss where these items will be shipped
        • You could be surprised learning the semi only makes deliveries once a week downtown at your venue.
        • Where will you store these items until the event?
      • How will you deliver the item, at the event, to each recipient?
                    * Hire and Pay a delivery person—take it off your plate!
                    * Typically a gift card works to pay a friend or a temp worker
      • Orchestrate the time when the item will be delivered and the worker will distribute.
      • Timeliness:
        • Flowers so they have the right temps
        • Items so participants can decorate or plan their display 

      Budget for gifts

      • If gift giving is new to you for your upcoming event you will need to determine where in your budget you can find the resources.

      • If you don’t have the needed monies, consider a sponsor.

      Sponsor image


      Make sure to keep the reason behind your gift giving intact:

      • Goodwill between you and your customer?
      • Filling a need of your customer?
      • Providing something to your recipient you know they can’t afford but will appreciate and it helps them out? Then sometimes the gift needs to look like it is coming from you. (Not a sponsor)

      Gifts are a great investment


      Gifts have legs

      giving gifts at events--has legs


      Post Event

      • Take your lists out and confirm that the gifts ordered got to the recipient
      • List out all of the feedback you received
      • Evaluate if the gifts met your expectations? ROI?
      • Ideas for next event?


      Now that you are aware of giving gifts at your event(s) you will begin to see great ideas around every corner. Take notes! Plan, prepare, and budget! Customer service goes a long way in establishing and maintaining good relations. Show your customers and partners you value them!

      thank you gifts

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