How Event Planners Nail the Hotel “Room Drop” Welcome Gift
Here’s the secret sauce for curating the perfect room drop at your next big conference.
Congratulations, you’re the event planner for an upcoming conference! Your task? Assemble an out-of-this-world gift box (known as a “room drop”) that provides a warm welcome to your guests and sets the tone for a great conference.
For most conference event planners these days, room drops have become the standard and it’s no longer an “if to give” decision, but a “what to give” one. Luckily for you, we’re here to share the secret recipe to room drop success. Conference giveaway swag is all about giving items people will be able to use while sprinkling in just the right amount of creativity and customization. As long as you follow these few simple tips, you’ll be on your way to a room drop that is the talk of the conference.
Source Hyper-local Goodies
Work trips don’t always leave time for spontaneous sightseeing. Your solution: bring the sights to your attendees by throwing in some locally made snacks and beverages or create stamped postcards that guests can have as a keepsake. By including unique delicacies from local businesses, guests are sure to start off with a positive first impression of their destination.
Get Ridiculously Creative
If you want to blow your guests away with the creativity of your room drop, some out-of-the-box thinking is required (pun intended). The key is to look for fun ways to keep attendees engaged and entertained with little effort on their part. A ‘Guess Who’ game with a bonus prize for the first person to figure out all the clues? Or, consider adding a unique food gift? Local hot sauce, I see you.
Customize for a Tailored Fit
Take a custom approach by tailoring your room drop to your conference’s theme or industry. For example, consider including a Rubik’s cube for an engineering conference or a crossword puzzle for a medical conference. Include items that are relatable, not random.
Heighten Your Helpfulness
One of the simplest ways to create a successful room drop is to include everyday essentials. Most people would appreciate a bag of gourmet popcorn over a vanilla-scented candle. The little things really do make all the difference – especially when you’re starving alone in your hotel room and all of the local restaurants have closed.
Buddy Up, Strategically
Consider partnering with the event’s sponsors to add more value to your room drop by offering them exclusive product placement in your welcome gift. Similarly, search out local businesses willing to extend deals such as a discounted yoga class in exchange for advertising their business. We call that a win-win.
Don’t Think of It as a Waste of Money
Your company’s conference-goers have already put in time and effort to attend, so reframe your idea of the room drop as an investment, not an expense. While the quality of your room drop might depend on what items you can source or have sponsored, it’s important to go for “lasting” over “throwaway” so ditch the stress balls and keychains.
Don’t Default to Generic
Is your event branded? Then your room drop should be, too. Don’t default to basic, generic items that will only diminish your well-thought-out vision. To create a hyper-branded experience, turn to specialty swag companies that can assist in creating custom-branded products. Hint: if your box could work at any old conference, it’s probably too generic.
Don’t Be Wasteful
Skip the excessive packaging and make your room drop as simple and sophisticated as possible. No one wants to spend time rummaging through an endless ocean of single-use plastic. By opting for easily recyclable items and packaging, you’ll avoid cluttering attendees’ hotel room wastebaskets – and the local landfill.
Don’t Make Assumptions About Guests
The key to curating the perfect room drop is getting to know your audience. Is the company culture to let loose or wind down with wellness after the conference? Do a little digging because free drink coupons will be a waste of your money, not to mention giving off the “you don’t know me at all” vibe. Err on the side of caution by providing an array of snack options and only include alcoholic beverages when appropriate.
Don’t Drop and Run
Whether it’s via an email survey, social media poll, or perhaps a handwritten note, gain insight into what did and didn’t work to help you prepare for your next conference room drop. Reach out shortly after the event while it’s still fresh in their minds because after enjoying all of the amazing goodies you provided them, your guests might be more inclined to give you feedback.
The Bottom Line
Yes, the devil is in the details when it comes to making a memorable room drop. By taking the time to understand your audience and curating items that speak to them, room drop magic will happen. With these tips, a pinch of creativity & customization you are sure to have a recipe for success!
Kim Carlson, CMP, co-founder of BreakAway Meetings
Kim is an experienced event organizer, conference planner, and social media analyst. In 2020 she and co-founder Angela Hesseman launched a custom event gift box business BreakAway Meetings.
Angela Hesseman, co-founder of BreakAway Meetings
Angela has a decade of experience in hotel operations and event planning. Using her guest room operations experience, she and co-founder Kim launched custom event gift box business BreakAway Meetings.