In our experience, a welcome packet and corresponding gift bag can make a big first impression of your guests’ expectations at your event. The welcome pack becomes a strategic tool to transmit brand, community and commitment image, but above all, it builds connections with event attendees. These are some of the benefits this gift provides to both event and hosting brand:
- Brand image
- Corporate culture
- Free brand promotion
- Pride of belonging
- And let us not forget the magic of the WOW effect!
The welcome packet can also provide attendees with informative and interesting parts about their stay. The following guide outlines how to make your next welcome packets and bags stand out for any upcoming company travel destination!
Send it well in advance
Since your Welcome Packet contains all this valuable information, it’s better to send it well in advance of the trip. Anything from one to three weeks ahead of the retreat will be fine. If you are sending the packet in advance consider including the additional elements:
- A personal note, welcoming them to your retreat, sharing your excitement and thanking them for joining you.
- A checklist with things to pack for the retreat.
- A map of the area, information about the local attractions, practical advice about moving around, and places to eat.
- Recommend other activities they can enjoy in the area, or books that will complement the experience.
What to Include in the Packet itself
Welcome Message: These first few lines should focus on welcoming the guests to the event and encouraging them to enter with a positive attitude and an open heart. There may be some attendees who aren’t quite sure what to expect; the welcome message is your way of making a first impression that will lead guests to leave their anxieties at the door.
Agenda: Without a doubt, your attendees will want to know what they’ll be doing over the course of your event. A general outline of events can be a great tool for everyone involved. Whether your event is a weekend or a week long, providing an agenda is key – both for keeping order and for satisfying your structure-driven guests.
Menu: A menu may not sound important at first, but it can actually augment your packet in a big way. For instance, some guests may have dietary needs while other guests may simply be picky. Whatever the situation, letting them know what you plan to serve is a gesture of kindness that will be greatly appreciated.
Speaker Bios: If your event has any community building sessions or keynote speakers it is important to include speaker biographies and descriptions of their sessions. By providing the information of speakers, you enable your attendees to research a bit about the speakers ahead of time or build excitement about some of the more structured elements of the trip.
Contact numbers: Contact numbers may not be the most exciting part of your packet, but they are certainly necessary, for many reasons. First, if an emergency rises – for example, medical complications, your guests need to know who to contact. In a less extreme case, your guests may simply need assistance or confirm details.
Make your Welcome Packet Stand Out!
All the digital documents that you send should look appealing and reflect the feel of your trip. Visualize the experience and create a design that does justice to your offering. Write everything down in a way that is clear, easy to read, and beautiful. Make sure there is consistency and uniformity in the different documents. They all need to look like they accompany the same experience. Use the same fonts, colors, and formatting, and incorporate a beautiful logo.
The Welcome Packet Container
Depending on the audience, the type of event, and the main elements you may consider a different approach. A branded swag bag of goodies, custom backpacks, an event branded folder, may be applicable based on your event. Plastic bags branded with a logo are often tossed, defeating the purpose of the brand who invested in that opportunity so offer something unique that attendees will use throughout their stay.
The Stuff on the Inside the bag
Outside of the program, schedule of events, potentially speaker biographies, pens, and a name badge, you might consider keeping in mind some items that would be of value specifically to the related activities or interests of your guests. No matter what you select to include, be mindful of a few items – will it fit in their luggage upon returning? Are the gifts gender neutral? Does it connect with the event theme overall?
Some creative ideas to include:
- Sunglasses / Sunscreen (for the golf course)
- Small Snack Treats (customized from local suppliers to make them feel welcome to the location)
- Hand Sanitizer & Tissues and other helpful items for attendees that have been traveling
- Artisan chocolate – something small and pure to satisfy the sweet tooth while traveling
- Personalized water bottle – reusable and branded or personalized as a memento of the experience
- Tech accessories can be awesome and helpful, but they’re often items many people would never think to get themselves, making them perfect for company swag.
Toast of the Town is Here to help!
Assembling gift bags doesn’t have to feel like a chore, especially once you start thinking outside of the box — or bag, in this case. You’ll be surprised at how many unconventional ideas you can come up with that will WOW attendees! Pair one or more of these ideas with our destination management services to assist you in selecting a venue or activities that will create an unforgettable experience.