Let’s face it – we all enjoy that moment when we first glance inside our delegate bag to see what goodies are in store for us this year. Oh yah it’s another pen! …yet another fidget spinner for my collection … a few pamphlets that will quickly get tossed in recycling … and in the bottom corner a sweet treat that goes down quick. Now to keep or not to keep my cloth grocery store style bag. I already have several dozen at home so I will likely leave it behind in my hotel room. The moment is fleeting and what is left behind is a whole lot of wasted money and wasted resources.
On a global level we are all becoming rapidly aware of the impact single use products have on the environment and on the people involved in the production of these products. As such, more of us are making very conscientious decisions on a daily basis to change our consumption habits. Single use and disposable items such as plastic water bottles, plastic straws, throw away cups and printed paper products are viewed as unnecessary and wasteful. Delegate bags and the items in them are no longer seen as awesome freebies but instead send a message to attendees that the event organizers aren’t making sustainability a priority.
It’s time to make a change. Here are a few suggestions on alternatives to the traditional delegate bag insert that will keep your exhibitors and attendees happy, reduce our environmental impact and even save the event organizers a little money.
- Use your app to its full potential – The best event apps have a social feed or news function where you can schedule sponsored posts and advertisements. Offer each exhibitor an advertisement in the social feed with a guarantee of two or three publications for each day of the event.
- E-vites and direct emails – Consider creating one direct email to be sent to all registered attendees a few days in advance that promotes all sponsored functions and other exhibitor highlights. Set a maximum word limit for each exhibitor and allow them to highlight an item or event as they choose.
- Contests and prize draws – Encourage your exhibitors to dedicate the money they would have spent on producing their bag insert towards a valuable prize draw. Prizes and contests can be promoted by the event organizers through social media and other channels. The better the prize the more visitations.
- Exhibitor speed dating – Facilitate face-to-face meetings between exhibitors and their target audience through the use of meeting match-up software. Exhibiting companies want to feel like their time and money was well spent, so help fill up their downtime when your educational programming is running with personalized meetings. Many online platforms exist to make this easy for event organizers to manage.
If you decide to forgo the traditional delegate bag, ensure this and other green initiatives are a part of your overall brand marketing. Whether you highlight these strategic decisions on the event website and/or via social media, make it front and centre so your audience knows you are making efforts to reduce the meeting’s overall environmental impact.
Kazia Ekelund, BTM, DRHM