Experience gifting is one of the hot trends coming out of the pandemic. The uncertainty of the supply chain crisis has pushed people away from physical presents towards giving memories. There are also demographic changes. Gen Z wants experiences more than they want stuff.
“According to the 2021 Sitecore Holiday Trend Report, 71% of people surveyed responded that they would prefer to receive an experience based gift for the holiday,” Melanie White, executive vice president of Virgin Experience Gifts, told Arival 360 San Diego.
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An Eventbrite survey from 2018 suggested “that 85% of US adults agree that an experienced gift is a great way for both the gift giver and the recipient to enjoy something together. And that number jumps to 93% when looking just at millennial women,” she said.
Flexibility is Essential
Flexibility is a must to sell tours, activities and attractions as gifts. The guest must be able to use it whenever they wish. White said that a potential customer will be put off and not buy a product simply because they are asked to choose a date.
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“Arguably the most important [piece of the sales process] is flexibility,” White said. Guests need to be convinced that buying an experience gift is just as easy as buying a physical product.
“The gift giver wants a simple purchasing process and the confidence that when their recipient is going to be able to To redeem their gift whenever they’re ready.
Be Creative with Gift Products
Gifts are always meant to be special, even if they are not always well-received. That means if operators put in a little bit of extra effort to differentiate and package their products as gifts, they should see greater rewards.
White says that operators should “think outside the box with your offerings” to create packages and products that will help build meaning for the person receiving the gift. “Something as simple as a souvenir water bottle or a t shirt could make all the difference,” she said.
Ensure Capacity is Available
While operators need to be flexible with the options that they provide for gift vouchers, it can cause issues with capacity planning. This may be more of a concern in a period of timed ticketing and capacity restraints.
Operators should consider creating unique products, White said, that allow them to manage visitors. That will allow operators to manage numbers and help experience recipients to redeem their tours without bother.
“One of the biggest challenges to a voucher base model for operators is capacity planning,” White said. “You may sell a high volume of vouchers during peak gifting times and it’s very important that the recipients of those gifts are able to easily redeem them whenever they’re ready.
“You may not want to offer your best selling tour that sells out daily. Instead, consider offering a unique gifting package for another tour with more availability.”
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