Comment: The changing nature of gift vouchers for UK hospitality

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Harriet Russell, who heads up sales and marketing for our gift voucher platform Regalo here at Hotfoot, was recently asked at the Lakes Hospitality Trade Show for comment on the state of the gift voucher market. Here’s what she said:

“There was a time not long ago when vouchers were considered an unimaginative gift, but these days you can buy a gift voucher for almost any experience under the sun and they are a huge revenue driver for businesses of all sizes.

“There were £5.6 billion in gift voucher sales in the UK last year and this is growing. They were the most popular Christmas gift in 2016 and more than 73% of consumers have purchased a gift card in the past three years.”

“These days it’s not just big brands that offer gift vouchers, as technology has made it possible for the smallest and most specialist business to catch on to the power of gifting, which has meant an increase in choice and variety, and that in turn has helped shift attitudes.

“We’re seeing strong year on year growth in gift voucher sales. Customers are increasingly buying online because of the ease of purchase and the immediacy, which digital natives in particular expect. Gift buyers can go online on the day of the recipient’s birthday, click a few buttons, and know they will receive their gift promptly, which is ideal for our increasingly time poor nation.

“Gift vouchers offer a huge benefit to businesses. It’s often said word of mouth is the best form of marketing, but buying someone a gift to spend at a specific business is the strongest endorsement of all. Gift vouchers drive footfall, introduce new customers to a company, and people spend on average 55% more than the face value of their voucher when they visit on other things.

“We saw this growth in the market and change in consumer behaviour as an opportunity to provide businesses with an easier way to sell gift vouchers online. So we designed, built and launched the Regalo gift voucher platform in 2017 for the hospitality and leisure sector. We’ve already seen an average 300% increase in gift voucher sales for our hospitality customers using the platform, so with the growing popularity of digital gift vouchers, we expect to see this continue to rise.”

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