Published by: Promotional Consultant
By Audrey Sellers
To Lisa Dobrowolski, creating a wondrous experience for guests is always at the top of her to-do list. As owner of the Midwest’s only four-star inn, Canoe Bay in Chetek, Wisconsin, Dobrowolski is an expert at providing the perfect escape for couples seeking luxury and romance.
She also knows the importance of offering a top-notch selection of mementos for guests to purchase. From exploring gift shops at other properties to browsing catalogs, Dobrowolski always has her eyes open for promotional products. “I like to keep up with what’s current, as trends change,” she says. “I try not to get items that are so flashy or trendy that they’ll be completely out-of-date in six months.”
Guests can find an assortment of Canoe Bay-branded items in the gift shop. “We have apparel, caps, tote bags and laptop cases,” says Dobrowolski. “But our best-selling item is the bathrobe.” She says all guests have bathrobes in their rooms. “Once guests try them on, they tend to love them.”
Dobrowolski enjoys working with promotional consultant Dave Swangim of Chetek, Wisconsin-based Creative Concepts Sportswear. “I find it’s easier to work with someone local who can regularly show me products,” Dobrowolski says. “He’ll lead me in the right direction when choosing new items.”
Confidence and experience are two qualities that drew Dobrowolski to Swangim. “He understands what my business is about—what kind of clientele we have and the environment in which the products will be displayed,” she says. “He knows the items that fit the scene here at Canoe Bay.”
Promotional products provide guests with a way to take little pieces of their visit with them. And Dobrowolski hopes those little pieces get seen far and wide. “Branded products are great advertising for Canoe Bay,” she says. “Wherever people go wearing our apparel or using our bags, it’s a great way to spread the word and get people to say ‘Hey! I’ve been there!’”