As Christmas beckons, many will have their sights set on festive wish lists. However, there’s no need to save gift giving for December, as lots of goodies make excellent year-round presents for clients, which can be branded to help them remember their favourite agent.
While pens, fridge magnets and Post-it notes remain a staple giveaway among agents, one of 2018’s most popular branded goods trends has been for reusable drinking vessels.
Promotional merchandise firm TTP specialises in products for the travel industry, and group managing director Alan Sanders explains: “Because of the interest in sustainability, travel firms are buying them for their staff and to give away to clients. Sports bottles are particularly popular, as they are useful for taking to the gym.”
Branded luggage tags and ticket wallets form the bulk of TTP’s business, and each year Myriad Travel orders 2,000 fabric ticket wallets, which receive rave reviews from customers. “They really love them,” says owner Tiffany Woodley. “They’re big enough to contain documents and passports, and can be re-used. At £1.60 each, they’re affordable, and customers often say they wouldn’t get them if they’d booked through the internet.”
Haslemere Travel’s team have been giving out branded cotton shopping bags for more than a decade, which surged in popularity when shops started charging for plastic bags.
Each year the agency orders 1,000 bags, costing about £1.20 each. They are given away as goodie bags at events, when people pop into the shop to collect brochures, or are packaged with tickets. Many clients then send photos of their well-travelled bags abroad. Top- spending customers also receive branded luggage straps.
Owner Gemma Antrobus explains: “Investing in branded goods that your clients can use is always a particularly good idea – why waste money on something that will get put in a drawer, where your brand will never be seen?” If you’re looking to thank key customers, here’s our guide to standout branded gifts.
TTP’s Sanders predicts security- focused products will be in demand in 2019. Agents can help customers keep their valuables safe in bustling destinations with the Speldhurst anti-theft safety backpack. All zips are against the wearer’s back while the interior is packed with useful pockets. There is also an interior USB cable and an exterior USB slot. It’s an investment piece, but in classic black it’s likely to be reused by clients for years. With branding printed on the front, they won’t forget who it’s from. Priced from £21.55, with a minimum order quantity (MOQ) of 25. ttp2000.com
Help families have an impromptu beach footie match with a lightweight football set. Alongside the ball and pump are two goals, which can be branded, and it all fits into a rucksack that can also be printed with your design.
For a cheaper gift, consider a branded Frisbee, which folds away into a small bag. The football set starts at £15.77, with a MOQ of 50, and the Frisbee starts at £1.12, with a MOQ of 300. allbranded.co.uk
Indulge couples with treats to share. The Chocolate People have made goodies for numerous travel agents, including Oasis Travel. Branded boxes of four chocolates are agents’ favourite item, or choose a bar that comes with a fully branded wrapper.
For a bespoke option, the chocolatiers will craft a specialist mould – previous creations have included chocolate aircraft and cruise ships. Prices start at 10p per chocolate, with a MOQ of 100. thechocolatepeople.co.uk
Dazzle high-end holidaymakers with a bouquet from Bloom & Wild, packaged in boxes that fit through letterboxes. Opt for stems that reflect your brand’s colour scheme or, for a festive gift, there’s still time to order a mini Christmas tree. It comes with decorations, lights and a card bearing your design and message.
The Turquoise Holiday Company has sent mini trees to hundreds of customers over the past three Christmases, which helped create a 20% increase in repeat bookings. The Twinkle Tree costs £32 including delivery, with no MOQ. bloomandwild.com/business
For a handmade and personal gift, follow the lead of Travel Counsellor Louise Banks, who creates branded present packs for all her customers.
Children receive their own flight activity packs, which are tailored to their age and destination. Those visiting a Disney resort receive Mickey colouring and sticker books, Mickey ears, sweets and often a Disney T-shirt or sunglasses. Adults aren’t left out, and normally receive chocolates to enjoy on the flight.
Banks buys the items herself and packages them into a brown paper bag, decorated with Travel Counsellors’ raspberry pink- hued ribbons and tissue paper, and a branded gift tag and card. She also includes their travel documents in a branded wallet and luggage tags, which she completes for them.
Some are posted, but Banks delivers them to local customers – often donning Mickey ears for those visiting Disney.
“It’s a very personal touch and the packs definitely help me stand out, and I often post photos of them on social media,” she explains. “They are easy to put together, and are handy for families with a longer flight. Spending about £5 per child creates a very effective pack.”