30 Ideas for Conference Bags People Won’t Throw Away

30 Ideas for Conference Bags People Won’t Throw Away

30 Ideas for Conference Bags People Won’t Throw Away

This is a sponsored post from Arrow Promotional. More information about Event Manager Blog’s sponsored posts.


Conference bags must breed in the dark: everyone seems to have at least a dozen stuffed in the back of their closet. A conference event swag bag should be more than a hole with handles. Conference gifts and corporate goodie bags account for more than $20 billion worth of business worldwide.


A functional, stylish conference bag can make a strong first impression. After all, who doesn’t want cool stuff? But an ugly bag filled with lame, useless swag bag items will end up in the nearest rubbish can when no one’s looking.

Here are some swag bag ideas on how to pick a smart conference bag and fill it with things attendees will find effective, desirable and memorable.


Take It or Toss It?

A few years ago, I asked a venue hotel to show me the trash from 20 attendee rooms after the event. It was both revealing and depressing. The trash cans were filled with conference bags, workshop materials, promotional items and the client’s $100-a-piece product demos.

What I learned was there’s a giant difference between picking up something on an impulse and making the decision to take it home and use it.

Here are some ideas to help you decide what’s worth your time and money.

The key question every attendee asks is, “Do I need or want this?” So you have to help them to see themselves using it. Here are the top things people will keep and take home.

  • Attendee-specific information
  • Electronics
  • Attractive clothing
  • Anything for children

This brings us to the reject pile. There are some items that are just destined for the garbage can. You may notice this list includes some of the obvious and traditional event items. Attendees see them every time. Just how many water bottles, coffee mugs, ball caps and pens does anyone need?

Here are the top items people will toss before they go home:

  • Printed collateral
  • Anything that won’t pass airport security
  • Super-branded items
  • Cheap, low-quality items

The airport security issue is important. At a recent event, a sponsor was giving away souvenir bottles of hot sauce. They were fantastic – custom labeled, funny copy and made by a small company that was used as a business example in one of the general sessions. The bottles went fast! The next day at the airport I saw that hundreds had been thrown in the trash. They were all two ounces over the limit for carry-on fluids.

You have to think things through.

Although there are some gold standard swag bag items that almost any attendee would be glad to have, the perfect conference gifts will depend partly on what type of event you are hosting.

The conference bag is the first gift you give an attendee. Here are 31 conference swag ideas and tips to add value to your conference bags for 2021. If you want our top 10 and check out real examples check out the video below.



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