One for the Road
There are about 8-billion different items that are appropriate, fun and commonly sold to the hotels and travel market. From keycards and staff uniforms to gift baskets and GPS systems, there is almost no limit to applicable product for these markets. So many choices however, can lead to sputtering, cluttered brainstorm sessions and other fun forms of productivity-stomping option paralysis.
If you're stuck on travel-appropriate items to try, take a look at some of these tested-and-true item categories below. At the very least it will help steer your creativity where it needs to go, and at best you'll have planned and sold a great promotion.
Why choose them: Not only do they have a big, colorful imprint area, towels are so durable and such commonly kept items, they make excellent choices for souvenir items. After all, as Anthony Romano, creative director for Pro Towels Etc., Pittsburgh, asked, "When was the last time you threw a towel away?" He pointed out also that towels are one-size-fits all, a gift of simplicity that is always welcome.
What you can do: "To commemorate an annual event, 105 towels were decorated with the Buddy Cruise logo," said Romano. "The beach towels were a souvenir item that was given to the attendees when they arrived in their cabins," he explained. "The color-on-color imprint allowed for a unique portrayal of the logo. The towel itself became a great keepsake for the event and could be used when the attendees returned home for many years to come."
Why choose it: Versatility. Margaret Dengler, marketing manager for Mid-Nite Snax, Mineola, N.Y., explained that it's healthy, lasts longer than more conventional snacks, and can be creatively mixed or packaged (think packing inside drinkware or making event-themed mixes such as Christmas or Tropical Getaway), making it a flexible item suitable for a lot of different promotions.
What you can do: "The Fort Worth Texas Visitors Bureau used our trail mix in a header bag to promote the city of Fort Worth as a great tourist destination," said Dengler. "Their artwork claimed that 'Fort Worth Texas is a trail worth following.'"
Why choose them: Like towels, umbrellas are kept forever. "A typical household has three to four umbrellas, and keeps them in various locations such as their car, briefcase and in an umbrella stand by the front door of their house," said Jenny Straub, director of marketing, Vitronic Promotional Group, Mason, Ohio. They're also thoughtful gifts with large imprint areas, even in the smaller, portable sizes necessary to make them practical travel items.
What you can do: "A distributor in Lexington, Ky., worked with an upscale restaurant who gave our FT816 totes Stormbeater Auto Open Folding Umbrella to local hotels with both the restaurant and the hotel's logo on it," said Straub. "The idea was to have the hotel suggest their restaurant and in turn, the hotel could give the umbrella to their priority customers. This seems to be working since the restaurant has placed several more orders with this distributor."
Why choose it: "For expert travelers, the uses of such a convenient personal item are obvious," said Mel Ellis, owner of HumphreyLine, Milwaukie, Ore. "Have you ever been stuck in a stale-smelling hotel room? How about a rental car that was last used by a cigar smoker?"
What you can do: "A recent example of the promotional value of this new item involved an emissions testing facility for cars," said Ellis. He explained that the end-buyer was looking to run an Earth-Day promotion tying lower emissions to cleaner air. Ellis stated that as a car-related, unisex item with an obvious connection to the intended message, the HumphreyLine Air Freshener was an obvious choice.