The underwhelming opening ceremony of one of the major attractions in Dubai, has got me thinking about gifting. How much is enough? Am I perhaps doing too much? Am I doing too little? What is the right gift for the recipient? Is there a right gift at all?
In our industry, gifting is not limited to the year-end. We are armed with ideas and creativity (and might I say budgets?), and are eager to leave a lasting impression on clients, partners and stakeholders. It is, therefore, a nifty challenge that we face – how do we stand out with something that is unique, something that has more value as a keepsake, something that is not just re-gifted away to a distant cousin or casual acquaintance.
This is a question that haunts the industry, before important meetings, before exhibitions and events. You may be ahead of the game if the art of gifting is not something that gives you sleepless nights. Corporate gifting is more closely associated to brand impressions than we would like to believe.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF GIFTING
At first, there was the diary and the calendar, then there were pens and scarves. I would imagine that the very first gift was a fresh and fragrant bouquet of flowers, which still grabs the recipient. But pen drives have become so commonplace, journalists are known to place them on garage sale (facts often sound like fiction or use them as pellets on non-suspecting strangers). Stress balls have taken a backseat after a spike in popularity. Sticky notes have done their time, coffee mugs and flasks are making cupboards full, sun shades have taken the shine out of gifting.
Go for practical and innovative as a thumb rule. We are in the travel industry, so a multi-charger makes for a handy gift. Portable mobile chargers are always a hit since smartphones run low on battery so fast these days. Two years ago, an environmentally friendly hotel brand sent me a potted plant – I loved it and it is still on my desk, thriving.
Come to think of it, there is no better gift than the experience that a hotel or destination or airline could provide. And that’s the reason many brands are staunch believers in gifting the product experience. (No matter how luxurious or modest this experience may be, it is the best way to reach your partners.)
QUALITY OVER QUANTITY
It is a myth that you need to gift an associate every time you meet him. Focus on creative ways of gifting the ‘experience’. For example, an invitation to a bar or nightclub could be complemented with a pick-up and drop-off service or an overnight stay at the hotel. A prominent airline invited its partners to a musical – an evening to remember. The performance was top-notch, so was the brand impression. A popular hotel chain hosted a unique art exhibition and gave its immediate stakeholders an exclusive preview – that was an experience to take back home and savour for days to come. Yet another home-grown brand now publishes its annual collection of contemporary Arabian tracks to gift. It’s not always about budgets, it is about collaborating, connecting with ideas and people to create that lasting impression through gifting.
A surprising and pleasant experience is a gift that keeps on giving.
The season of festivities is upon us and on behalf of the entire TTN team, here’s wishing each one of you a merry and hearty Christmas and a fabulous New Year. See you in 2017.
• Has your gifting experience been outrageous or outstanding? Share your story here [email protected]
By Rashi Sen
TTN is the most established trade publication in the Middle East distributed on a controlled circulation basis to members of the travel and tourism industry.
Published monthly by Al Hilal Publishing and Marketing Group, the region’s foremost trade publisher, TTN is aimed at professionals in the industry, from travel agents to airline and hotel personnel.
TTN provides in-depth and extensive coverage of relevant issues in the Middle East and North Africa as well as in other parts of the world. Travel related news, analysis, and new appointments together with information on up-coming exhibitions, marketing and promotional campaigns are presented in an innovative and striking colour tabloid.
Every issue also contains a collation of international and regional news and topical features of interest to readers.