Are You Doing Event Swag the Right Way?
The meeting and events industry is worth $907 billion according to a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers, which makes it the 10th largest industry in the United States. Consequently, the industry has one of the largest environmental impacts in the world. The EPA has named the meetings and events industry as the second most wasteful industry, following behind the construction industry. The continually growing demand for innovation and environmental responsibility by attendees, event organizers and the community, has caused the event industry to begin implementing more sustainable and innovative practices to minimize the environmental impact of the events industry.
The Environmental Impact of Events
According to the research report The Economy and Environment: One Solution for Two Meeting and Event Industry Issues, by Meetings Strategies Worldwide there is evidence that an average attendee who attends a three-day meeting generates about 61 pounds of waste compared to 13.5 pounds of waste at home. And they contribute 1,142 pounds of greenhouse gasses; the equivalent of driving for a month. With the events industry continually expanding, the environment will be enduring the consequences and the industry as a whole has been making the shift to sustainable business practices to reduce their impact on the environment.
The Digital Trend Expands to Swag
The trend towards sustainability is a push towards a better, greener meeting industry but also a way to cut costs in the process of event planning. By bringing a part of the event not previously digital to the digital world, the result has a two-fold benefit. One of the most innovative ways to reduce waste and cut event planning expenses is through the transition from traditional event swag bags to digital or virtual swag bags. Event organizers are beginning to use digital event swag bags for attendees instead of physical items. The attendee then doesn’t have an additional bag to tote around with them and the contents will provide higher value than traditional swag. Attendees are given access to the digital swag bag through a portal, and they can explore the content at their leisure.
Cutting Waste, Costs, and Time
Going digital with swag bags reaps plenty of benefits for the event organizer, attendee and environment. First off, no longer will attendees grab a swag bag, search through it for the items they want and rid themselves of the other items either by leaving them behind inside the venue or trashing them as soon as they get back to their hotel rooms. And, again, the benefit of having one less thing to carry around the conference is an added bonus.
Secondly, the event organizer saves time and money when it comes to using digital swag bags. Event organizers simply need to compile their list of sponsors and contact them regarding their swag pieces for the digital swag bag. Sponsors can then add their own offers or content to be approved by the organizer. Gone are the days of spending hours and hours putting together swag bags to be given out to attendees during the event. By cutting down on the labor hours spent putting the bags together, there is a significant savings as that time can be reallocated to more pertinent projects. Sponsors are also saving on the cost of the traditional swag pieces. It’s important to remember the amount of time spent planning, ordering, production time and costs, and the transportation cost (whether delivered directly to the show site or lugged in a suitcase).
Instead, there are many companies that host the digital swag bags and give a platform for sponsors and organizers to manage the content of the swag bag. Zoliro, a digital gift bag company, has a direct cost of $1.20 for each attendee, much less than traditional swag bags.
Increased Measurement and Analysis
Aside from the cost-cutting and time-saving benefits of digital swag bags, there are even more benefits that planners and, especially, sponsors are loving. For the first time, sponsors and organizers can measure the value and impact of their swag items within the digital bag. Many digital swag bag companies offer dashboards with reporting capabilities that show how many of the gift bags have been opened, which offers are the most popular, and what wasn’t successful. Some digital gift bags can also show what was purchased with the coupons or offers.
Sponsors can use this data to determine the most valuable content to put into swag bags. Leads and revenue can be tied directly to the swag bag making it easy to measure ROI. The attendees of an event are highly targeted and engaged with the event and therefore are highly interested in opting to open the digital swag bags. Therefore, sponsors are willing to go the extra mile to incentivize attendees and drive them to their website or content, giving sponsors more qualified leads and further reach.
It’s a Win-Win
Digital swag bags are a win-win situation for all parties involved, including the environment. They minimize waste, cut costs, increase efficiency and provides more quality content that engages attendees. The ability to report on the content, offers, and coupons contained, the usage and the revenue gain from the content within the digital swag bag. Saving the environment, money, and time while being more effective: How could digital swag bags not become a staple in the event and meeting industry?