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Dear <<First Name>>,

Sway of the Swag

Can you imagine the swag that the stars are offered at the Oscars? Karen McClintock, an Ottawa jewellery designer, was amongst the stars as she introduced her jewellery in a gift lounge at the W hotel in Los Angeles. Their social media updates and daily sightings were fun to follow as stars came by to select pieces from the collection. To have a celebrity endorse a product is a big deal. It made me think (can you smell the smoke?) that each one of us is an important 'swag wagger': someone who likes the idea or company and then wags his/her tongue about it to others. 

The word 'swag' has become a part of our everyday vernacular and the word is even fun to say. The part about receiving swag that I love so much is when someone makes me stop in my tracks and makes a mental connection. The interesting part is that the value:fun ratio is not necessarily in proportion. Many a swag has swayed with a value of $10 or less.

Swag has to be about the experience. It is meant to create an emotion which, in turn, becomes a memory. Years ago, I was given a pen of no particular value but it came with a feature I remember to this day. The pen was guaranteed to write in any language! In that moment, that pen became the most valuable pen I owned. At the time I could only write with it in four languages but it had the ABILITY to write in ANY language. It changed not only how I looked at that pen but at every pen I have held in my southpaw ever since. It made an impression = it really impressed me!

I am always so grateful for the wee things that make their way to me through the industry. In fact, I can place every piece of swag currently in the 'tickle trunk drawer', closet and on my desk top. Sure you say, the name of the company is branded on it but the 'favourites' conjure up memories of who I received it from and where.  Often the more subtle the name on the product, the more I use it and number of times I appreciate the gift.  

Friends and family are often welcome recipients of the overflow and in the circle of swag it feels as though I am doing my duty and 'swag wagging' the message to others. The ROI - Return on Impression - keeps on giving...

Timely yours, Brenda

PS. Swag etiquette states that you must buy
500 room nights if you wear a competing brand's emblazoned emblem on your jacket or golf shirt at a hosted function!  This rule becomes null and void in the event the most senior hotelier present worked at the competing brand within the last four weeks.    


101 Tips: Prizes, Points and Pizzazz

Promoting next year's meeting often begins at a social event at the current event. It is a great time to have the delegates look ahead and even just mentally plan to attend 'next year'. Announcing the destination often starts the mental process and a good way to generate momentum is to offer one delegate complimentary registration and accommodation. 

Depending on the size of your program, you may want to consider asking the hotel(s) you are working with if there is an opportunity to include a gift certificate of relative value to the number of nights of your program. So many hotels have reward programs and they can simply transfer points directly to your organization.

Gift bags and branded collateral are also a fun way to reward delegates, either at an event or to use as a gift later. The size of the program you bring to the hotel does determine which shelf you can ask to choose from. Even with fun items and gift certificates, it is important to remember that there is a cost to the hotel.

Regional swag has to be my favourite in that one gets to sample and experience something that you simply can not get locally.  It gives you a glimpse of the delights of the area.  When I travel, I like to take a small something for my hosts.  Our homemade maple syrup often gets the desired sweet impact and appreciation, especially in areas where maple trees are a rarity. 

This area of negotiation is often a gesture of appreciation.  The real bonus is adding value to your program without the hard costs making an impact on what you have already agreed to with the hotel.  


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Joanne, Greg, Jay, Sophie, Kim, Shelley, Charlette, Brian and Shawnna – You are correct that I was in San Francisco near the Golden Gate Bridge (enroute to Sausalito by bike). 

While on this trip I visited the Buena Vista, an establishment proudly serving Irish Coffee since November 10, 1952. The owners flew to Shannon Airport in Ireland where it is said to be the first place to ever serve the tasty brew in 1942. Joe Sheridan, a chef who worked at the Irish airport, added whiskey to the mugs of cold PanAm passengers one night and a legend was born.  

Who Knew?

St Patrick's real name was Maewyn Succatt, the wealthy son of an Italian dad and a Scottish mom. 

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