10 Ideas for Trade Show and Conference Swag That Will Have Your Booth Buzzing

September 24, 2019

Jackie Lynch

Jackie Lynch is a marketing manager for San Francisco-based Guidebook, a mobile app development platform for trade show, industry and association event planners.

If your company or association is attending a trade show or hosting a conference, you’re probably thinking about the swag you want to give to attendees. While it may seem like the easiest box to check off your list, your event swag says a lot about your business! 

The quality of your swag reflects your brand. And since attendees are inundated with free giveaways everywhere they go, it’s important to choose standout tchotchkesthat lure attendees to your booth. Your company-branded swag may be the only thing that can draw potential clients to a booth for a conversation and trigger a memory of that discussion after the event has ended. The goal is, after all, to use that swag as an early step into your conversion funnel.

When picking out swag for your next event, you should consider the usability of an item and also think about how memorable that item will be. A perfect balance of the two keeps your items out of the garbage.

We have hundreds of corporate, association and individual event planners as customers, and the one thing they all have in common is that their well-thought-out swag is their differentiator out on the show floor. 

A lot of pressure for a little trinket? No sweat, to help you pick swag attendees will love, we’ve talked to trade show and event managers to identify 10 giveaway items to impress your attendees:

Practical giveaways

These types of giveaways are practical choices to let your customers and prospects know you understand what they need, all while driving awareness for your brand.

Portable chargers: Event-goers rely on their smartphones for networking, emails, event navigation, and more at your event. They’ll appreciate the ability to charge on the go during the event, and will have your brand in their backpack. 

Water bottles:Bonus: set up a water filling station at your booth and you’ll encourage folks to hang around and fill up their water bottles, giving you the opportunity to spend a little more time chatting. 

Laptop camera security sticker: Help attendees get rid of that little piece of tape that covers their camera. A sliding security camera is a major upgrade, and places your brand front and center on their laptop.

Weather and seasonal gear: Depending on the season your event takes place, tying in your swag to the time of year can be a fun and helpful way to stand out. During the rainy season, for example, you can offer umbrellas to help attendees get around town. Or in the summer, give away branded sunglasses or flip flops for a little post-conference fun in the sun.

Personal care kits: If you’re exhibiting at a large-scale event, chances are many of the attendees traveled in from various locations. A branded kit that includes items like lotion or toothpaste will be welcome – and if they don’t use it this trip, they’ll hold onto it for the future.

Novelty giveaways

If your goal is to drive awareness and stand out with a surprise and delight element, try one of these giveaways that will surely wow.

Branded fruit: If you don’t want to worry about attendees losing your swag, go with something that will have an immediate impact – branded fruit! This edible giveaway will drum up social media attention, as attendees will be excited to share this unique piece of swag.

In-booth caricatures: You’re sure to build a captive audience with this freebie. Hire a caricature artist to make special mementos and you’ll have the opportunity to chat-up conference-goers as the line for your swag grows. 

Personalized drinks: Serve up personalized drinks, on the spot! Ripples lets you print custom graphics on top of a cup of coffee in seconds. You can even snap photos of attendees and print out their headshot on a latte in seconds.

Plant seeds: Package up your favorite seeds and you’ll plant a lasting seed in the minds of those who stopped by your booth. 

Magnetic slime: Fidget spinners were so last year, this year’s mind-calming toy is – magnetic slime. 

Give your attendees memorable swag they’ll actually use

Still at a loss for ideas? The main consideration when choosing swag for your trade show booth or conference goodie bag is to pick something people will actually use! Thinking back to past conferences, what were the pieces of swag that you still use to this day? And what did you throw away immediately? The sky’s the limit when it comes to designing good items for trade show and conference attendees – make sure it’s something you want them to remember you by!


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