People flock to conferences and conventions for all kinds of reasons, from learning new things to exchanging ideas to mingling with industry pros.

When you’ve been to an event like The PPAI Expo or the Women’s Leadership Conference, you know there’s magic in being surrounded by like-minded people. It’s the energy and in-person experiences that draw many professionals away from their desks and into convention halls and meeting rooms.

In the United States, about 40 million people attend business events every year, with most (76%) going for the networking opportunities. That’s not the only big draw, though. Nearly 70% of attendees consider in-person B2B conferences a prime opportunity to learn about new products.

Event planners are feeling optimistic, with 44% saying they’ll increase their event budget this year, and nearly 60% saying they’ll increase their budgets by more than 10%. The U.S corporate event market as a whole, which includes conferences and conventions, is projected to top $510 billion by 2030.

Whether companies organize events to refine sales strategies, celebrate success, shape industry standards or achieve some other goal, promo helps elevate the entire experience – before, during and after the conference or convention.

Desk drops with various promo products can help get employees excited for upcoming conferences and conventions. When they arrive on site, customized snacks and treats can welcome attendees to a conference venue and engage multiple senses. At seminars, branded items like notebooks and pens are immediately useful, and after the event, merch like mugs and apparel will remind attendees of their experience and help create a community around an event.

More and more event teams are looking to transform a conference from a day- or weeklong engagement to an all-year community. Promo can help foster meaningful connections and encourage participants to support each other after the conference or convention.

Promo also lets companies highlight their commitment to sustainability, which is becoming increasingly important to employees. Research from Deloitte shows that 69% of professionals want their company to invest in sustainability efforts. Items like reusable water bottles and tote bags made from recycled materials are useful at conventions and conferences while also aligning with employees’ values.

Want to maximize your impact at conferences and conventions? Grab your lanyard – we’re walking you through some trends and sharing ideas for elevating any business event with promo.

What Do Attendees Want Most?

Event planners can make conferences and conventions more appealing by giving attendees what they’re craving. Some of the most-requested offerings at business events include:

  • Webinars (62%)
  • Meetups and networking opportunities (54%)
  • Online roundtables (50%)
  • Live chat (49%)
  • In-person roundtables (46%)
  • Podcasts (40%)
  • On-demand content access (39%)
  • Resource libraries (33%)

Promos can point people to these offerings and drive registrations for roundtables and other events.

Most Popular Meeting Types

According to the American Express Global Meetings and Events Forecast, attendee numbers are increasing the most for:

  • Internal team meetings/trainings
  • Product launches
  • Small/simple meetings

If event organizers see their budgets expand, 32% say they will focus on improving the on-site experience. A great way to do this? Promo. Incorporate custom barware at networking events or give branded laptop bags at breakout sessions.

Relax: You’ve Got Promo

When people travel to conferences and conventions, they’re increasingly taking time for themselves. It’s estimated that about 60% of business travelers add vacation time to their work trips. Companies can enhance employees’ experiences with promo. Branded items like beach towels come in handy when travelers want to unwind poolside or seaside after a corporate event.

Pick Your Promo By Location

Many factors go into a conference destination, from travel logistics to a venue’s amenities. Some of the most popular cities for U.S. conferences include Las Vegas, Orlando, San Diego, Dallas, Washington and Chicago.

Consider where a convention is being held when selecting the most helpful promo. For example, branded umbrellas may come in handy for a springtime conference in D.C., while logoed lip balm makes a useful giveaway for Las Vegas conference-goers. Or, go with perpetually functional items for traveling, like luggage tags or hand sanitizer.

Adding Value To Virtual Events

Virtual events can’t replace IRL experiences, but they do provide benefits like greater accessibility and lower costs than in-person conferences and conventions. A LinkedIn poll reveals that 62% of people would consider attending a virtual conference for the education, while 26% would log on for networking opportunities. Promos like branded notebooks and mugs add a personal touch when people participate from afar.

Attracting Event Pros

Conventions, conferences and other business meetings don’t just happen – they require the skillful coordination and creativity of event planners. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects jobs for these professionals to grow faster than average through 2032, with more than 15,000 job openings every year. Promo can help organizations recruit talented event professionals and retain them.

Campaign Collateral

man wearing classic dark blue polo shirt with pocket

A classic Polo Shirt can take wearers all the way from a morning education session to the golf course to a networking dinner. This 100% polyester shirt features a UPF 30 rating, side vents, hemmed sleeves and snag resistance.

Blue Generation / PPAI 174665, Platinum

Dye-Sublimated Lanyard with metal crimp

Lanyards are mainstays at most conferences and conventions. This Dye-Sublimated Lanyard provides more capacity to carry passes and IDs using a durable metal crimp and split rings. Customize it even further with coordinating badges and vinyl pouches.

SnugZ USA / PPAI 112982, Platinum

Forest Large Notebook with spiral binding and foil imprint

With the Forest Large Notebook, conference-goers can keep track of all their notes and ideas in one place. Designed with a paperboard front cover and a black or natural paperboard back cover, it includes 100 sheets of lined paper and a one-color foil imprint.

JournalBooks/Timeplanner Calendars / PPAI 110769, Gold

4 Crosby Softy Monochrome Metallic Pens with custom logos

Add an elegant touch to any conference or business event with the Crosby Softy Monochrome Metallic Pen. Customized with a full-color logo, this ballpoint pen features a satin rubber finish and matte-painted metallic tips, plunger and clip that match the pen’s overall design.

Goldstar / PPAI 114031, Platinum

woman sitting on Sand-Free Dunes Beach Towel with custom logo on the beach

When conferences and conventions draw attendees to beach locations, give them the Sand-Free Dunes Beach Towel. Made with a linen-like, quick-absorbing fabric, it features tone-on-tone decorating and hand-knotted fringes. Choose from gray, navy and turquoise.

Towel Specialties / PPAI 113150, Gold

TableTopics To-Go Travel conversation starter cards

Spark interesting conversations en route to or on the way home from a conference or convention with the TableTopics To-Go Travel cards. Each travel-size set contains 40 question cards and can be customized with a sleeve wrap or customized label.

The Book Company / PPAI 218850, Silver

Branded Cork Bottom Mug with custom-printed compostable bag of Gummy Bears

Kick off a corporate event with a gift set like the Cork Bottom Mug With Gummy Bears. This gift hits on a sustainability aspect with the mug’s eco-friendly cork bottom and a customized bag made from compostable materials. It’s available in matte black, gray and white.

NC Custom / PPAI 111662, Silver