The holiday season is here on the back of an extremely difficult year, and people are turning their attention to what to give their loved ones. Over the last few years, a trend has emerged of people rejecting physical presents and consumerism clutter in favor of creating memories and experiences. As far back as 2017, nearly 40% of shoppers planned to give gift cards, event tickets, or other “intangible” gifts, according to market research firm NPD Group.(opens in a new tab) Despite the increased growth of online retailers such as Amazon, the number of people opting for “experience gifts” is set to rise again fuelled by a year of intermittent lockdowns and the longing to break the cycle of monotony with new experiences. In addition, many consumers will be gifting vouchers rather than booking experiences directly in advance of holidays due to the flexibility that this affords the recipient.
I’m going to focus on how you can better incorporate gift cards as a product on your website, but you should use other complimentary channels such as social media and direct marketing to sell your product as well. If you’ve spent the year growing your mailing list(opens in a new tab), you’re in a strong position to market your gift vouchers for the festive period. We’ve also published several posts over the years on how to utilize social media, with tips on how to run a successful Facebook ad campaign(opens in a new tab) and how to get the most out of your ads. While there is a surge in gift card purchases during the holiday period, there are plenty of occasions throughout the year including birthdays, anniversaries, mother’s and father’s day which highlight the value of offering gift cards via your site.
Choose Your Product
The easiest thing is to set up gift vouchers and certificates as a redeemable cash value, eg a $50 voucher with City Tours. But this could deter potential buyers as they don’t want to be seen as lacking inspiration in their gift choice. Alternatively, you could offer gift cards at a value that corresponds with that of your tours, enabling the consumer to purchase a tour as a gift. This also allows you to market your gift cards more easily, as well as making them more attractive to a potential customer. Hangar 21(opens in a new tab) makes all of their experiences available to purchase as a gift.
If you use a Reztech platform then setting up gift certificates on your account should be extremely easy, either get in touch with your account manager or follow their online step by step instructions. Once you’re set up and ready to go, the next step is to engage with your audience.
Build A Page
It may seem like an obvious step, but there’s a lot of tour and activity operators that set up gift certificates through their rez system and merely add a hyperlink from their website. This is straightforward enough but does absolutely nothing for your website’s SEO ranking for long-tail keywords such as activity type : location : gift voucher. Our client, Taste it Tours, currently ranks number 1 for food tour gift certificates in their three main locations, something that would be impossible if they merely linked directly to their booking platform. Follow the usual on-page SEO protocols to help get your page found.
Consider the Content on Your Page
Once you’ve got the page built, think about the content that you want to include to help promote your value proposition. Capturing your visitors’ attention and imagination should be first and foremost. Who’s your target audience? Why should they buy a gift card for your tour now? Once you’ve achieved this step, and presented your value proposition, you should include your gift card terms and conditions towards the bottom of the page to increase certainty. Add an easy to find call-to-action button to the page that is linked to your booking platform, so that the visitor can seamlessly take the next step.
As with the rest of your products, making your gift voucher page easy to find and access is extremely important. Especially during the peak month of December, I’d recommend that you follow Hangar21’s lead and make variations of ‘gift cards’, or ‘gift a tour’ one of your main menu options. This is even more pertinent if your area is currently facing restrictions and the exit strategy is unclear. Add a ‘Gift This Tour’ call-to-action button on your individual tour pages linking directly to your reservation system. And thirdly, either add a full section on your homepage dedicated to gift cards, or at a minimum, a call to action button linking to that page on your website. Eat Mexico(opens in a new tab) and Go Shooting (opens in a new tab)in Australia have done just that.
So there you have it, our guide to selling gift cards on your website. The steps are all straightforward and you should be able to achieve them with minimal help, but you’d be surprised by how few companies are positioning their gift certificates effectively right now. Doing so will help you leapfrog ahead of the competition and bring some holiday cheer for your new clients, and perhaps even some familiar faces as well!
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