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The importance of branded merchandise in Tourism and Hospitality Businesses

Back office Marketing

The importance of branded merchandise in Tourism and Hospitality Businesses

The importance of branding in the hospitality and tourism industry is evident in all marketing activities that businesses undertake. Brand logo’s, colours and design are used by the vast majority of us. We are all aware of a few big hotel and tourism brands in Ireland today. Centre Parks, Clayton Hotels, Maldron Hotels, Great National Hotels, Paddy Wagon Tours and lots more. But what do all of these recognisable businesses have in common? They all have great big marketing budgets that the normal run of the mill independent hotel or tourism business could only dream of!


During the various Covid lockdowns businesses have been coming up of creative ways to market their business that won’t cost them a small fortune. Some businesses have been offering branded merchandise for quite a while now. While searching popular hashtags on Instagram lately, I came across Industry Mugs. A new start up based in County Cavan that produce promotional products with a twist.


Mother and Son team- Susan and Mike are the brainchild of this new venture. “We design and make promotional mugs but we also fill them up with treats (Cappuccino or Latte sachets and some chocolates). The customer can then add in their gift voucher, or business card or promotional pens and keyrings. We have produced some promo mugs for hair/ beauty salons/barbers, coffee shops, corporate clients, schools and private clients. They really work in terms of branding. We have produced promotion hampers filled with promo items including pens, travel mugs, cups, hoodies, t-shirts, mousepads, face masks and aprons.”


The interesting thing about Industry mugs is that they haven’t needed to start advertising yet with a website- they receive most of their business from word of mouth referrals. I can see why. They don’t stipulate a minimum order and their prices are very competitive. “We don’t turn away small orders, nor do we stipulate a minimum order (with the exception of screen prints which are a minimum of 10 prints). But I think a big bonus for small businesses is that we don’t charge set up fees. Many printing places will charge anything from €45 to €200 to set up a design ready for printing. We don’t charge for that. At the end of the day if businesses are doing well, they ARE doing promotions.. and if they are not doing so well… they NEED promotion.” You can email Susan and Mike on for more information.


But why are branded promotional products so important to your business?


 These are our top 5 reasons why you should have branded merchandise as part of your marketing strategy.

  1. To Introduce your business

The great fun club

Not only for new businesses but if you are launching any new offerings as part of your current business then what a great way to introduce them? Travel mugs for a new take away coffee hut, branded t-shirts for new summer packages (such as a kids club), aprons for a new take away hamper etc. Great National Hotels did a great job with branded Merchandise of their Great Fun Club. Kids took home branded bags as well as crossword puzzles etc.


  1. Brand awareness

Using merchandise for brand awareness has been around for a long time. But this was usually limited to pens, writing paper and laundry bags. Branded merchandise can help you reach a lot more customers with some creative thinking. Branded face masks as a gift to your current wedding customers, branded tote bags as part of a takeaway package, hats or caps for your tourism business. We love the branded Bosca Marcies beanie cap that can be seen all over Trim and County Meath. A perfect example of excellent brand awareness.


  1. Customer loyalty.

Surveys have shown that people are more likely to buy or continue to buy from businesses that have offered them free promotional products. Take for example beauty products- buy any two skincare products and receive a free branded make up bag. We have all seen these offers so why not use a similar idea to promote customer loyalty? Take 5 kayaking trips with us and receive a complimentary branded mobile phone case? Offer the booking agent of a tour company a free branded water bottle etc.


  1. Increase Sales

Cavan Fleadh

Promotional products do not have to be given away complimentary. You can use them as another revenue source while creating brand awareness as well. Examples of this were the hoodies that were sold at the Fleadh Ceoil in Cavan in 2011 and 2012. You could sell branding travel mugs at your coffee dock and offer a 5% discount on refills in that mug- creating customer loyalty too!


  1. Creating emotional connections

According to Branding Strategy insider, an emotional connection can take your customers beyond brand loyalty to the ultimate measure of a compelling brand: brand advocacy. Not only are these customers happy to continue visiting your business, but they will actively promote your brand also. Therefore, if you are willing to gift your top fans or customers some promotional gifts- they will become you’re best sales people. Offer complimentary tote bags to your top Facebook fans. Have promotional products ready for your loyalty club members when they reach a certain number of points etc.

Back Office Marketing

Back Office Marketing

There is an endless list of ideas on how you can use branding promotional products to help market your business. Back Office Marketing was lucky enough to receive some promotional products from Industry Mugs last week. I fully intent on using my new coffee mug on all zoom calls in the future to highlight my business and create brand awareness. I would highly recommend this company if you are thinking of purchasing any branded material. And you will be supporting an Irish start up as well!

You can contact Susan and Mike on

If you need any help with any other marketing activities for your business please don’t hesitate to contact Helen on

Did you miss last weeks blog? Find all of our blog posts here.

Helen Leddy


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