When people attend conferences, one of the things they look forward to are those cute little gift bags that are handed out at such events. One would think that these things should not hold a lot of value to the caliber of people who attend such events, but surprisingly, they do. They serve as memoirs to most people or keepsakes to others.

I was on a train one day when I heard two ladies discussing about the conferences they had been to. Actually, they were comparing the level of organization and planning that went into the events. Surprisingly, one of the things they hammered on and based their collective opinions on were the contents of the conference bags handed to them. They talked about one of the gift bags and said the contents were so cheap that most of them had to abandon the bags.

They called the organizer a very bad planner and said all sorts of things that pointed to the fact that they weren’t impressed with the event. I eventually learnt that it was a paid event so I wouldn’t really blame them for their reactions. I then began to wonder if they were able to learn anything or contribute in any way to the main reason they were there—the conference since they were so fixated on the quality of the souvenirs.

Anyway, this should teach any event planner that when organizing a conference, much thought should be put into the conference gifts, just as it should be put into the seating arrangements, feeding, transportation and whatnot. The overall turnout of all these factors would determine if your conference would be a good one or not. The idea is to give gifts that would be valuable to people and not just stuffs they would throw away.

I realized that some conference organizers give out crappy gifts not because they want to but because they have no idea of what to give. So, here are some cool conference gift ideas to consider:

10 Quality & Affordable Business Conference Gifts Ideas

1. E-padfolios

“Padfolios” are like small portfolios with zippered closure that is designed for you to protect and carry around all the latest technology like your iPads, nooks, Kindle, business cards, pens, notepads, flash drives and phones. They are very small and can be carried around and made of very strong materials that are built to last. Padfolios are very good gift options for conferences.

2. USB flash drives

Who in the business world today doesn’t need a flash drive? We all need flash drives to store and carry around important information. A nice USB drive would make for a cool conference gift especially now that they come in various shapes and sizes.

3. Fancy clocks

Clocks are also very good and useful for everybody. You could consider designing a very fanciful wall or table clock.

4. Journal notebooks

Another cool gift idea is a very nice journal notebook. As long as it is very nicely designed and doesn’t look too cheap, the guests would certainly appreciate it.

5. Business briefs

Briefs and bags are also very nice. You could fill it with other nice materials like pen, notebooks, conference programs and other things that would be needed for the conference.

6. Personalized calendars

Nothing tells a conference attendee “We had you in mind when planning for the event” like a customized calendar. However, this may be time consuming especially if you have tons of people attending the event.

7. Digital picture frames

You can achieve two things with digital picture frames. First, you can advertise your business or allow event sponsors advertise theirs. Second, you can hand them out as souvenirs.

8. Stress relievers

We all get stressed from time to time, and therefore need stress relievers. There are many fanciful and interesting stress relievers in the market today that could serve as good conference gifts.

9. Stainless steel mugs/tumblers

These are very common and might not be appreciated if they look too cheap, but they are very good for planners working on a strict budget. The key is getting mugs or tumblers that don’t look too cheap and that are well designed or customized.

10. Power Banks

In this age of smart phones, a power bank is one of the best accessories any smart phone user can have. It simply makes it very easy to charge your phone on the go whether you are traveling or going out of your home for a few hours. It’s one of the best gifts anyone would appreciate as a conference attendee.

All the gifts listed above are very cool and affordable, especially when buying in bulk. However, you can still come up with some creative ideas of your own.

Ajaero Tony Martins