Although we are currently experiencing a moment of crisis for the travel market, tourism still remains the world’s leading industry. Developing and implementing a gift card program can be very beneficial for tourism businesses. The latter must be considered as a dynamic whole so that brands can reap the benefits: customer acquisition, additional offer, loyalty, customer experience…
Here are the reasons why brands should take advantage of this solution and develop a gift card program to its highest potential to make the most of the opportunities.
1- A way to complete the offer
In an experiential and service-based market, the addition of a complementary service completes the brand’s offer. The gift card can enhance it as a simpler and more convenient present.
Moreover, setting up a gift card program will allow the brand or retailer to develop its offer with a long-term vision. It will need to elaborate a precise strategy, to develop a marketing campaign… in order to truly offer the brand to customers through gift cards.
For that, it is important that the service is both physical and digital, to keep up with the evolution of consumer behavior. Their buying journey today is definitely omnichannel. They want to have the choice when shopping.
2- Reach a new target: professionals
Adopting the gift card in tourism can also allow businesses to reach a new target: professionals. Indeed, for the past few years, the business tourism sector has been experiencing a surge in its digital transition. Business environment becomes more and more disruptive with the advent of new technologies and more particularly digital technology, which is currently changing the way business travel is booked and paid for.
For example, there has been an increase in the use of online payment methods, making it easier for professionals to waste less time. It is also a convenient way for the company to allow its employees to pay, especially abroad.
3- An anchor in the digital world
For several years now, the tourism sector has been facing a digital transformation. It has created changes in the supply and demand of the sector and has redefined the roles of its actors, that is to say visiting customers and producers, offering new opportunities, but also raising great challenges: development of Online Travel Agencies, mobile wallets…
Tourism professionals can also benefit from this trend by offering gift cards online. Apart from bookings, it adds an additional digital service to the company’s offer. The e-card also represents an additional point of contact for the brand. The holder always has it with him. We can therefore say that it improves brand awareness.
Finally, it is a way to be quickly present online, by multiplying the channels, and to increase revenue by enhancing e-gift cards programs to take advantage of e-commerce growth.
4- A powerful marketing tool
The gift card can be seen as a marketing and relationship tool. It can be used to develop customer acquisition by following certain strategies: sponsorship, using the gift card as a promotional code, as a contest prize… For example, it can be a way to promote testing by offering customers a gift card for a hotel room or a meal at a restaurant.
It also represents an excellent recommendation tool, thanks to certain customers who become referrers for prospects.
5- A new means of payment
The gift card also represents a means of payment on its own. It can be a new way to offer a trip or a stay to someone, especially thanks to the pot that allows several people to pay online for the same trip and then convert the money into a gift card. This grouped gift option is very popular in the tourism sector.
In addition, the gift card can be registered on a mobile wallet, which makes it one more tool to facilitate the customer’s shopping experience.
6- A strengthened customer experience thanks to the gift card
The sixth point is about customer experience. With the boom of the internet and connected objects, consumers have profoundly changed their way of life and expect to have the equivalent in their consumption. They now want to be taken into consideration by brands.
Marketers must create a unique and personalized customer experience to create a lasting connection, especially in tourism. The gift card can therefore reinforce this customer experience as well as relationships or the after-sales service.
For example, it can be interesting to offer a gift card to compensate for a delay or the cancellation of an event such as setting up a loyalty campaign with gift cards when trains are delayed. It is a way to offer a unique experience to customers and thus increase their engagement.
Moreover, to build loyalty, continuing the dialogue with customers is a key element. The gift card can help build customer loyalty through personalized messages and visuals. Finally, it can also be used to re-engage former customers.
7- The gift card as a promotional tool
Brands can enable certain actions through the gift card, encouraging a specific consumer behavior. In a situation of “over tourism” on a particular destination, for example, offering a gift card for a less popular destination may be a good idea. In fact, 75% of travel agents say that their clients want to avoid over-tourism while at the same time wanting to visit what is unmissable. Professionals must therefore rely on their local knowledge to avoid certain days, times, seasons… and guide tourists to sites that are off the beaten track.
The gift card can also help the adoption of a different tool or sales channel: for example, some tourism actors develop applications to assist customers during their travels (guide, good deals with potential partners…). To encourage consumers to download and buy or use the mobile application, a card can be offered. For example, for any purchase of €30 on the application, a €5 gift card of the brand can be offered.
8- A way to strike internationally
The gift card allows brands to bet on the international market, especially thanks to its digital version. After a good management of currencies and languages, it can allow professionals to sell globally and tourists to use their present in foreign countries.
Gift cards can become quite an asset in a brand’s strategy, even in the tourism sector. To strengthen customer experience, to be present abroad or to have a foot in digital, they represent a major issue for professionals. Time to get started!
Suggestions for further reading
How to boost international tourism post global pandemic?