pillow gift (noun) pil'o gift 1. an amenity left in the evening, while an event is under way, that attendees discover upon returning to their rooms.

Think big

If you ask attendees to remember pillow gifts they've received over the years, they tend to recall the big ones. It might make sense to consolidate and give them one significant gift they'll use all the time. Examples: A Newton thermometer, a picture frame with no logo, a bag for golf shoes, or a scarf in Milwaukee in January.

More can be less

Suppliers often reduce their costs based on volume. Take into account the level of gift — chocolates or champagne — the number of attendees, and if they can be used for other events.

Handling fee

Hotels will most likely charge you for having staff deliver gifts to attendees' room, but the fee is not set in stone. Negotiate!

Fore!

The most popular pillow gift for attendees who golf is a sleeve of balls, but why not take it up a notch by adding a logoed golf shirt — something they'll use again and again?

Event orientation

As a welcome gift, create a basket filled with useful items — a walking map, tour guide, subway map, event listings, shopping and dining guide, and other information on the locale.

There are no losers!

If you're hosting an awards banquet, surprise attendees with a thank-you gift after the program. This way, everyone goes home with a prize.

Plan ahead

Hotels are always willing to recommend items along the lines of fruit baskets and flowers, but stop in the gift shop and see if there isn't something more destination-specific, such as a full-sized umbrella in Seattle.

SOURCES: www.hyatt.com; Sales Marketing Network at www.info-now.com ©1999 Selling Communications Inc.; www.briggsnyc.com; Insurance Conference Planner; APEX Terminology Council; The Sales Marketing Network's “Pillow Gifts” by Jay Levin, www.cardex.com/articles/5030.html

Do you want to get the last word in? Send your ideas to ttennant@primediabusiness.com