Gift cards are more than just a one-time use revenue generator for a once-a-year birthday or holiday season.

Everyone knows that gift cards have a huge potential to make your facility more money, increase per capita spending and even earn passive revenue through card breakage. But are you maximizing the use of them in your facility? Gift card sales should be part of your overall marketing and promotion strategy. Read on for five ways to leverage gift card sales even more this year.

No. 1: Plan your strategy.

Last week’s blog featured tips on marketing smarter using your email marketing campaigns. The planning of your gift card strategy is no different and can go hand in hand. As you review the calendar for marketing ideas, consider different times of year when it makes sense to push gift cards.

Did you know that last year, the National Retail Federation’s Annual Father’s Day Survey expected that nearly 43% of gift givers were planning to purchase gift cards for the dads in their lives? And that 27% of dads surveyed were hoping to receive the “gift of experience” for Father’s Day? With that in mind and the fact that spending has
increased year over year since 2014, your facility has the potential to capture part of nearly $20 million in Father’s Day Spending this year.

What’s more, in just the next 3-5 months, there are programs you could capitalize on—from Father’s Day to Graduation to end of school year to Summer Reading Program completion and back to school—just to name a few.

No. 2: Design your cards with your program objectives in mind.

Well-themed cards can give you increased brand awareness. Adding your facility branding is a no-brainer, but also consider specialty theming to meet the type of gift you’re promoting, like including images of birthday presents, graduation caps, or even thinking about a card that can be used long-term, like a membership card.

When redeemed, a gift card can become a member card or be exchanged for one—whatever works best for you, the offering and the volume of gift cards sold. It might not make sense to have uniquely themed cards for every occasion, so consider gift card initiatives as part of your overall marketing strategy and see how and where theming may make the most sense.

No. 3: Encourage guests to keep their cards.

Converting a gift card to a membership or loyalty card can be easy and seamless by linking the gift card at the time of redemption to a guest’s profile in your facility management software. At admissions, discuss their new membership or rewards card, terms and the registration process as necessary. In addition to storing any value, loyalty rewards and winnings remember that assigning a card to a guest record will also protect a guest in the event the card is lost or stolen, and provide you with guest marketing and spending information for your database for future analysis and offerings.

No. 4: Think beyond gift cards as a simple tender type.

Gift cards don’t have to hold simple monetary value so get creative with what you offer in promotions. Food and beverage combos, bonus play, bonus gift cards and attraction or admission entitlements can all be part of compelling gift options if done well. For example, you could offer a bonus promotion that when a guest purchases $50 in gift cards, they get a $5 bonus gift card. You can configure that bonus money on the same card, or a different one and make it redeemable for food, attractions or game room or video play only if used with a cashless game room integration.

Be sure, though, that before every promotion you offer, you take the time to alert staff and train them on promotion details and redemption processes to eliminate confusion and the hassle factor at the point of entry.

No. 5: Make fulfillment easier.

Don’t forget to think about the logistics of how you want to fulfill gift cards sold during a promotion. Will you offer them both in-store and online? How will guests receive them? Think through whether you prefer to fulfill orders and mail out your gift cards at the end of each shift, once a day using your management system’s online fulfillment queuing system, or have them picked up using a “Will Call” approach.

The right approach to gift card sales can bring in more revenue all year than just typical Black Friday campaigns. Have other ideas for leveraging gift cards in your facility? Share them with us in the comments or on Twitter!

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