We all love the feeling that comes with “making someone’s day”. After all, in an industry built around exceptional service and experience, there is a natural appreciation for extending the same thoughtful qualities into our business environments.

The challenge is that we are more inundated than ever with screen time and remote communications, which makes opportunities for face to face interaction exceedingly rare—even more so due to the nature of our industry.

With the ability to evoke a variety of sentiments, gifts are a tangible means by which to initiate or reinforce business relationships. When thoughtfully executed, these symbols of appreciation, celebration and recognition can have a profound impact.

With traditional opportunities for guest/staff interaction waning, and in some cases being eliminated altogether, brands are forced to define new ways to create a connection with the Millennial guest. Developing new guest touch-points through branded guest amenities is one opportunity to make a relevant brand/guest connection.

Fortunately, the distinctive approach you take to guest experience translates well to gift giving. Use the tips below to make a thoughtful impression year-round.

“Giving a gift that is meaningful, consistent with the values and style of your brand, and has staying power is a great way to enhance your relationship and your brand.”
– Kelly O’Dwyer, A S Hospitality, Director, Market Development

Consider the Recipient

Whether purchasing a unique gift for an individual or outfitting an entire group, always begin by thinking about the lifestyles, interests and tastes of those receiving the gift. Are they frequent business travelers; always adorned with the latest fashions; constantly talking about their next adventure; or obsessed with testing the latest and greatest gadget? Use these insights to focus your search.

Connect With Your Brand

This is an opportunity to keep your brand close at hand throughout the year. Choose a gift representative of the styling and personality brand, property, and destination.

To make these connections easy to identify, think about product design elements using the same considerations you would if shopping for furniture. What are the lines, colors, materials, and styles that best complement your brand, property(s) and destination(s)? Then, choose products reflective of those features.

Stylize Imprint
When branding your gift, foremost remember this is a gift and is not meant to be a billboard. Take a stylized approach. In lieu of the traditional logo imprint, find ways to incorporate your brand’s pattern, icon, tagline or destination. When thoughtfully applied, these details will increase the perceived value of your gift while ensuring your gift reflects your brand’s image.

“Gifts are an opportunity to create a delightful and lasting brand impression.”
– Rebecca Ball, Dexter Solutions, Senior Director of Marketing Services

The Right Moment

Selecting just the right moment or opportunity to give your gift can enhance the impact you make on your recipient by making them feel even more appreciated. Here are a few ideas to help you find just the right moment.

Meetings and Events
Placing small gifts at place settings during session breaks is an unexpected way to deliver gifts to event attendees. Consider delivering several smaller gifts throughout the event, as opposed to one larger gift, for greater impact.

Giving gifts at check-in is a great opportunity to use personalization. Whether the personalization is in the form of the note or imprinted on the product, small personalized details can go a long way in making a guest feel special.

Leaving a gift for your most loyal guests on their bed on the day of a celebratory event like a birthday or anniversary can have a heartwarming impact. This shows pre-planning, thoughtfulness, and will be a delightful surprise for your guest.

Seek Products With Staying Power

Avoid one-time use gifts that will be tossed by the wayside as quickly as they arrived. Invest is items that will be used with frequency or enjoyed over time and know you will be thought of with every use. Gifts with staying power, such as a personalized calfskin luggage tag, will be used for years to come. Quality is key. Before you place your order, request a sample to ensure the product’s quality is designed to last and adequately represents the way you want your brand to be perceived.

Seek Opportunities To Personalize

Personalization exudes thoughtful planning and “one of a kind” flare, which makes recipients feel extra special. Customization is especially powerful when paired with an item offering premium qualities, such as brand prestige or fine materials and craftsmanship. Customization is a sure way to extend the shelf-life of your gift.

Balance Style and Budget

High-quality does not have to mean high-budget. Your budget will likely vary widely by occasion. Don’t feel defeated if you have a tight budget for an event; there are product options at every price point.

“ Gone are the days of engraving silver bowls. The personalized gifts of today span an array of aesthetics, functions, price points, and product-lines.”
– Kelly O’Dwyer, A S Hospitality

  • Look for items with characteristics associated with high perceived value, such as weight, materials, or even colors. For example, the same product can look very different in powder blue, yellow, gray, pink and white. White is often times a great choice for lower price point items (Steve Jobs chose it for a reason).
  • For high volume gifts, planning four months in advance allows manufacturers the flexibility to schedule long-run production of your product which is often times leads to BIG savings.
  • Share your budget and timeline with your sourcing partner and lean on them to provide options that compliment your brand and are on budget.


In a hotel or brand environment, it can be impractical to shop for a unique gift for each recipient or occasion. While nice in theory, opportunities are often missed due to time constraints, added expense and ambiguous processes.

Consider collaborating with a partner who understands your brand, audience and vision and who has the ability to apply those insights to product selection. The right partner can help you create a gifting program that fits your brand and budget, providing an ongoing solution that is both high-touch and low maintenance.