Travel Gift Cards: How to Sell More Online

There are many reasons why ecommerce grew 16 percent in 2017 over the previous year—the use of smartphones, digital wallets and Amazon, to name a few. One major contributor to that growth is, most likely, the ongoing popularity of gift cards, still—for the 12th straight year—the most requested gift.

For travel and entertainment companies, improved gift card ecommerce programs would go a long way towards helping them take advantage of ecommerce growth, opportunities to increase revenue, engage with customers where they shop and improve brand loyalty.

The current research

The NAPCO Research 2018 Merchant Gift Card eCommerce Evaluation looked at 100 top merchants—from airlines to big box to grocery stores—scoring each on their checkout/post-purchase experiences, gift card offering flexibility, promotions and about 100 other unique criteria.

The top ten scores went to a mix of categories, including general merchandise (Amazon), Home Goods (Williams-Sonoma), Consumer Electronics (Best Buy) and Restaurants (Chipotle). Travel and entertainment companies didn’t fare as well. Compared to the 2017 NAPCO Research report:

  • Airlines scores dropped an average of 8 percent
  • Hotels dropped an average of 13 percent
  • Digital entertainment dropped 20 percent

With overall average scores well below their category counterparts, there is lots of room for improvement. So, when it comes to travel gift cards, how to sell more online? And what should entertainment companies do to increase their gift card sales?

It’s all moving online

Any business knows you have to go where the customers are. Looking at the travel industry, ADI (Adobe Digital Insights) travel industry market research shows, not surprisingly, more of today’s travel customers are online. In fact, 42 percent of business and 60 percent of leisure travel arrangements are now made online. But booking doesn’t tell the whole story; before booking a holiday trip, over 95 percent of leisure travelers read at least seven online reviews.

Yet, with all those business and leisure travelers looking at all those smartphones, computers and tablets, the category’s gift card ecommerce business lags behind.

Travel gift card ecommerce flexibility

Besides the traditional ecommerce gift card promotional uses—offers of give one, get one; promotions to increase basket size or encourage specific product purchase, etc.—there are dozens of other uses for this flexible branded payment. Here are just a few ideas for using an ecommerce gift card program to grow your brand and capture those online customers.

  • Sweepstakes—As a prize for a sweepstakes, egift cards are extremely popular. They let winners choose anything they want (up to the card value, of course), which only improves the winner’s relationship with your brand.
  • Reactivations—Want someone back into your travel loyalty program or entertainment subscription service? Offer a small egift card with their reactivation.
  • Opt-ins—Encourage opt-ins for promotional emails, app downloads or almost anything else by rewarding your customer with an egift card.
  • The ecommerce platform—Not all ecommerce platforms are alike. Find a complete end-to-end solution that will help you take your travel or entertainment business to new heights—and take advantage of the enormous gift card ecommerce opportunity.

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