The gift card in the world of professional tourism

by | 9 Nov, 2021 | INSIGHTS

For several years now, tourism has been going digital. Today, more than half of tourists use online booking sites to organize their trips. Moreover, with the emergence of hybrid work models, many employees have switched to remote working, sometimes permanently. In addition, traditional holiday parties, dinners and outdoor corporate events have been significantly scaled back. So, how can brands adapt their tourism offer to this new generation of workers?

​Profound changes in the professional tourism sector

A digital surge

Tourism was one of the first sectors to digitize business processes on a global scale, bringing flight and hotel booking online to become a digital pioneer. Subsequently, business tourism had also taken the digital turn, changing the way business travel is booked and paid for. Booking applications, digital trip planner, mobile check in, car rental platforms, smartphone room keys… A lot of new features now enable workers to always be connected whether it is for meetings, meal planning or even exercise, a massive amount of new revenue for companies.

Moreover, this trend will not go away any time soon as Millennials are entering the workforce with a high reliance on technology and are much more inclined to travel for business than older generations, with an average spending on the rise.

New emerging trends

There are now plenty of new buzzwords for those who don’t like their working lives to be tied to one place. Those “digital nomads” or “location-independents” represent a growing number of people nowadays.

As the lines between work and life, the distinctions between business and personal travel blur. This trend goes way beyond bringing your partner to a conference. When destinations are appealing to them, professionals around the globe are increasingly adding weekends, or even weeks to work trips, sometimes with a partner or as a family. We talk about “bleisure” (a mix between business and leisure). It’s about making it easier for business travelers to extend their stay, to visit and enjoy a new culture.

Travelers now also rely on their mobile phones for every aspect of their trip. From using it as a ticket to board the plane, to book a hotel or text assistance, they are super dependent. This goes hand in hand with the development of mapping applications like Google Maps that have changed the way we travel and discover the world.

Those new behaviors are forcing organizations to think of creative ways to tap into the business traveler that they might have not considered in the past. They need to meet the expectations of the new generation of business travelers, allowing them to discover destinations, use current technologies and applications. In order to handle it, corporate travel managers are more and more numerous to organize healthy travel programs that balance cost control and travelers’ safety.

Which options to attract teleworkers?

Adapt to a new generation of workers

 This new way of working, supported by the digital shift and working at full speed with the pandemic is not ready to disappear. Tourism companies should therefore adapt to this new trend and try to attract nomadic workers to stay abroad for a long time.

 

Today, telework does not necessarily mean a permanent home and tourist destinations have understood it well. They need to formalize offers that correspond to remote workers’ wishes:

  • Propose offers that match the needs of teleworkers and the composition of their household (solo, couple, with children…)
  • Develop partnerships with local tourism businesses (vacation clubs, sports centers…) to offer long stay packages to teleworkers
  • Identify companies and organizations that implement telework to propose spaces to host them during external events
  • Consider converting tourist accommodations into work lounges

Moreover, tourism companies should implement some measures to offer security to travelers which became a priority. Indeed, as a consequence of these last few months, consumers want to travel safely. They can, for example, show more flexibility, promote local destinations or even sustainable tourism.

Think about corporate gifting

The corporate gifting market is growing faster than the personal gifting market. It will be a $64 billion opportunity through 2024, making it a big opportunity for brands and retailers.

New trends in the tourism sectors have led to an increase in the frequency of corporate gifts, which are often seen as a substitute for the canceled activities as restricted interactions between colleagues and with clients have given rise to challenges in establishing or maintaining relationships. Besides lead generation and improved sales, it represents an important tool to strengthen relationships with workers and make the recipient feel valued with 43% of them ranking it among the top three advantages. It can also help to improve employee productivity.

Those gifts can take several forms but the most popular one remains the gift card – both digital and physical.

Why implement a B2B gift card program in the professional tourism industry?

A growing market

Today, the B2B gift card market represents between 20 and 25% of programs revenues. However, this segment is growing significantly, a growth driven by the increasing focus of companies on their employees’ well-being and motivation. The multiplicity of reward and loyalty programs and consumers embracing it is also fueling this trend.

Therefore, companies need to take advantage of the gift card market rise while boosting tourism

A way to motivate employees

Flexibility, choice, versatility, customization, security, ease-of-use… These are just some of the reasons gift cards are trusted by so many companies to power their team. 

Today, 8 out of 10 employees prefer a gift card to other types of gifts or rewards. This new way to gift allows companies to reward, motivate and engage their employees. Indeed, there’s nothing quite like knowing their hard work is appreciated after they have completed a difficult task, and getting that instant recognition keeps them on a high that will motivate them further as well as improve their loyalty and commitment.

Rewarding employees who travel

Besides requiring employees to travel on the same day whenever possible, making arrangements with airlines or negotiating corporate rates with hotel chains, offering gift cards for your employees’ business trips can be a great option to reward them within budget. Indeed, they can help reduce travel costs by making smart travel choices.

By incentivizing employees, brands can get them to care more about saving their company money when it comes to business travel and save thousands of dollars in unnecessary travel expenses. For example, staying at a smaller hotel, renting a smaller car or flying during off-peak times are easy ways to save money on travel costs. Since some of these options can be a sacrifice for employees, the gift card can be a way to reward them.  

Finally, gift cards are also a way for the company to enable its employees to pay, especially abroad.

Remote working has increased the need for staying connected and therefore the relevance of corporate gifting. In any case, professionals and digital nomads are today a clientele to seduce more than ever and to pamper. Using the gift card allows brands to deliver happiness to their professional relationships that matter the most.

Suggestions for further reading

8 reasons to adopt the gift card in tourism

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