by Andrea Doyle | July 21, 2016

Connect With the Destination
"Personalized and custom gifts, trunk shows, and pop-up boutiques have been a trend in many of our events," says Tina Gaccetta, vice president of client services for Minneapolis-based Aimia, a leading loyalty and incentive company. The company has arranged for silk-scarf boutiques in France, leather-glove fittings in Italy, and customized perfumes in Monaco. "A combination of offerings is even better. Something from the destination, the latest tech thing, and a gift in which they choose," adds Gaccetta. Havaianas Sandals, Wallaroo Hats, Western belts, Toms shoes and handbags, and a "pick-a-gift" station where Kate Spade handbags were a hit, were all part of events Aimia has facilitated this spring.

For a Mexican program, Aimia created a gifting experience that took on the appearance of a local market. There was a mix of local vendors along with a Maui Jim fitting for the group to take part in. The market was not only interactive but became part of the décor.

She stresses that these experiences are not replacing pillow gifts, just supplementing them. "It's still a delight to get to your room and find a gift waiting. Technology items -- like Bluetooth speakers, headsets, and GoPro video cameras with accessories -- work well," she adds. "These are always fun to give on-site, as people start to use them immediately."

Global Gifting, a full-service event experience company based in Southern California, provides the best brands available in electronics, sunglasses, watches, bicycles, fashion, jewelry, and fragrances, and ties into a custom gifting experience that will enhance the event.

"We really looked at the marketplace and saw that the high-end gift industry was a growing category and really wanted to bring a different spin on it with some fresh and new products and brands," say John Crisci, cofounder and president, and Jim McGory, cofounder and chairman of Global Gifting.   

The future is bright for customized gift events. "More and more people aspire to see their own personalized thumbprint on things they acquire," says Melissa Van Dyke, president of the Incentive Research Foundation. "Creating the 'wow' gifting experience of the future will require deep understanding of the options people would like to customize and of the process they're willing to engage in to make those customizations happen."  

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This article appears in the July/August 2016 issue of Incentive.