Author Topic: Hotel gift bags  (Read 1160 times)

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gellchom

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Re: Hotel gift bags
« Reply #15 on: July 10, 2014, 12:02:00 AM »
Definitely get a letter from the hosts -- this is the most important thing, in my opinion.  They can give a few words of welcome, but the real purpose is to give important info for the guests:

- List of the events of the weekend, with addresses and times and any notes like "please note: no cameras or cell phones in the synagogue," "venue is not high-heel friendly," "Please note that there is construction on Broad Street; park around the corner on Roosevelt"

- Contact phone numbers

- Transportation information

- I always put in a little hand-drawn map showing all the event venues and perhaps a few other landmarks and attractions.  People do use navigators now, but it's nice to give them a little sense of orientation.

I agree, not too much tourist info.  They came to see you, not your town.  Don't put in brochures, just a few suggestions for free time, which they won't have much of anyway.

Put in some snacks and a beverage.  We oppose bottled water for environmental reasons, but when our friends who do hospitality bags for us, they always put them in anyway!  I agree that something local is fun.  People here in Columbus often include Buckeye candies; some friends in Kentucky included a tiny bottle of Kentucky bourbon; a cousin marrying at Napa Valley winery gave a plastic tablecloth, a small cheeseboard, and a corkscrew; my cousin in Atlanta included a bag of grits! 

The exact contents aren't important (other than that letter).  It's just a nice little treat that makes people feel welcomed by their hosts even before they see them, when they first check into the hotel.

kareng57

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Re: Hotel gift bags
« Reply #16 on: July 10, 2014, 12:19:05 AM »
I'd leave out stuff like hand lotion or sunscreen.  I have lots of skin sensitivities (not uncommon) so I probably wouldn't use things like soap/lotions.  And for sunscreen - I need at least SPF 30.  That would be way too expensive to put in hotel gift bags.  I'd probably end up just discarding a bottle of SPF 8.

Overall I agree with Gellchom's recommendations.  There's no need to generic tourist info; they can get that at the info desk at the hotel.

Lynn2000

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Re: Hotel gift bags
« Reply #17 on: July 10, 2014, 11:01:59 AM »
I like the idea of thinking of it like the hospitality you'd offer if they came to your home--a drink, a snack, further info about the area and event schedule. Unless it's a small wedding you're not going to please everyone--there will always be someone with an allergy who can't eat X or something like that. Take into account what you can but don't be anxious about it.

And, I would try to include something that would be useful for the wedding/reception. For example, if it's an outdoor ceremony, sunscreen, sunglasses, hats, or fans would be useful. That's the sort of thing where some guests will have thought ahead and brought their own, and other people will be like, "D'oh! Didn't think about that!" and really appreciate that you provided it. You could even do a mix of things--some guests (randomly chosen I assume) get sunscreen, others sunproof folding hats, others sunglasses, etc.. Perhaps they would have a little fun trading them amongst themselves, and that should cut down on the expense.

I also like the idea of providing info about a couple of convenience stores near the hotel, for other things the guest might have forgotten. That's the sort of thing that's so hard to figure out when you're at a hotel in a strange city. And, a few restaurants, including some that deliver to the hotel, if guests are going to be on their own for any meals.
~Lynn2000

gellchom

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Re: Hotel gift bags
« Reply #18 on: July 10, 2014, 12:21:28 PM »
I love the idea of thinking of it like what you'd do if they were guests at your home.  Festive, welcoming, fun.

So I don't think I'd provide just in case convenience store etc. info.  The hotel desk can tell them that if they need it.

I forgot to mention: resist any temptation to individualize the bags.  The hotel will not appreciate it, and they will probably mess it up.  If your friends are doing this for you, as is the custom in our community, you will be making their job harder, too. 

At our son's wedding, my friends wanted to put coloring books and such in the bags for families with little ones, for example.  It was a lovely thought, but I asked them please not to because I knew it would be a mess at the hotel.  They distribute them as a courtesy, but when they're busy they can't be sorting through forty bags rather than just grabbing one from your carton.  Even alphabetizing only helps so much, especially with several relatives with the same name.

Another time, a very gracious but rather controlling MOB gave a very specific list of guests' favorite candy bars, etc., to her "bag committee." I don't blame them for hating that.  Much more time consuming and expensive than buying in bulk and doing an "assembly line" and not having to label each bag.  It's just not that important to have a Baby Ruth instead of a Snickers, and as it wasn't even their friend herself doing it, the personal effect is diminished anyway.  In fact, at some point it starts to draw focus from the wedding and onto what great hosts you are, KWIM?

I suppose if you are just doing, like, five bags, fine.  But for a big group, do everyone a favor and just make them all the same, or different but randomly distributed as Lynn2000 suggested.

Arila

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Re: Hotel gift bags
« Reply #19 on: July 10, 2014, 04:29:41 PM »
We went to a wedding in California and she had included one of the individual bottles of wine in red and white, and also some light, non-refrigerated snacks (cheese and crackers or maybe summer sausage) to go with.


Also, if you select your container in such a way, you might not need to add "stuff" to the bag, maybe just a pretty folder with the needed info (local attractions, couple's favorite restaurant -- the one nearby--, wedding day itinerary, schedule of any family events that out of town guests are welcome to attend), etc. A brief note from the couple thanking them for taking so much time and effort to travel for their special day!

Lynn2000

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Re: Hotel gift bags
« Reply #20 on: July 10, 2014, 05:35:58 PM »
And also I agree with the earlier advice that less is more, especially with bits of paper. You don't want the guest to overlook the really important stuff, like the schedule, because there's so many brochures etc..
~Lynn2000