Event planners often need to come up with new ideas for gifts, give-aways and gadgets for trade show attendees and clients who are on the go. Once, when people got bored with pens and mugs, mouse pads were considered to be unique give-aways. Then it became USB drives - which remains one of the most practical give-aways.
In the past 10 months, I have traveled to 6 countries: Malaysia, Germany, Jamaica, United Arab Emirates (Dubai), Barbados and the U.S. (Palm Beach, Las Vegas). I've attended 6 trade shows (IMEX America, IMEX Frankfurt, Ignite Business Expo, M&I Forums and Incentiveworks). During the course of this journey, I’ve unearthed some treasures that are guaranteed to please even those participants, planners and clients who have seen it all:
Rose That Transforms into a Totebag
Originally from Asia, this rose from Meritline is small enough to fit in any purse. Yet, it quickly becomes a tote bag that is large enough to carry those unexpected purchases. Costs about $6 at at 1stopclickandshop.com. Lasts for years.
Baronhall Estate Jamaican Seasoning Gift Baskets
Extend your trip to Jamaica by bringing home the taste of the tropics. These small unbreakable bottles of Jamaican seasoning pack a lot of punch. There is jerk chicken marinade, hot curry sauce, scotch bonnet pepper sauce (the secret ingredient in Jamaican cooking) and more.
ESTEAM Travel Series Jiffy Steamer
Remove wrinkles quickly with this compact, hand-held steamer. It’s perfect for event planners, professional speakers or as a give-away for clients who are constantly on the road.
Chatterbox Video Message Recording Device by Plum
This surprisingly affordable, modern version of a notepad can take 80 second video or voice messages. Features include a 1.8 inch screen, a magnet so that it can stay in place on your filing cabinet or fridge.
Pre-Historic Gifts by Prehistoric Home
One of a kind gifts, everything from pens and coasters to paperweights made from authentic fossils and dinosaur bones, are now available.
Travel Size Games for Groups that Include Children.
With the emphasis on electronic and smart phone games, travel versions of traditional games like Scrabble, chess, Monopoly and, for toddlers, Candyland, will stand out from the crowd.
Nostalgia Electrics Retro Series 3-in-1 Breakfast Station
For a bit of nostalgia, this retro breakfast station circa 1970 is a toaster oven, coffee maker and griddle in one. You can make your coffee, pancakes and sausages at the same time. It's about $50.
MistyMate Personal Cooler
The world’s smallest portable mist cooling device will help participants keep their cool at events in any climate.
Arabian Trinket Boxes, Incense Burners and Miniature Coffee Sets
Bringing home a taste of Arabia will help your guests re-kindle their memories from Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Oman and other parts of the Middle East.
Travelon Anti-Theft Travel Bag, Backpacks or Hobo Handbag
I saw something similar in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia many years ago. Now anti-theft bags have come to the west and they are available through Corporate Travel Safety. The handbags can't be snatched and pickpockets can't access the contents.
The next time you're on the lookout for great gifts, gadgets or give-aways, sign up for a trade show, comb the gift shops and night markets in foreign cities.
For more fabulous finds also check out "Hottest Gadgets" Incentiveworks 2012 Highlights and Last Minute Christmas Gifts and Gadgets for Event Planners.