Read about the success of the Canada's Food Island Gift card, part of the Downtown Gift Cards concept from fintech Miconex.
One of the top three benefits we had with the Canada’s Food Island Gift Card was increasing incremental consumer spend
The Canada's Food Island Gift Card - an interview with Crystal MacGregor is Director of Marketing and Communications at Food Island Partnership.
Case study: Canada’s Food Island Gift Card
The Canada’s Food Island Gift Card launched in September 2020 on Prince Edward Island, Canada’s smallest province, which has a population of 165,000. A $4.8 million project, over 100,000 Canada’s Food Island Gift Cards were sold in the first 18 months of the program.
Crystal MacGregor is Director of Marketing and Communications at Food Island Partnership.
- Why did you launch the Canada’s Food Island Gift Card?
“Covid hit our tourism industry hard on Prince Edward Island. Many of our regular tourism campaigns were unable to take place. The Canada’s Food Island Gift Card was introduced to stimulate the economy and lock in local spend, supported by the government.”
- What was the response from merchants to the Canada’s Food Island Gift Card?
“It was really positive. 80 merchants had signed up to receive the Canada’s Food Island Gift Card as payment within a week of the project being announced. When the gift card launched, it was accepted by 150 merchants, and 18 months on, over 335 local merchants accept the Canada’s Food Island Gift Cards.”
- How did you use the gift card to support your tourism industry?
“The introduction of the gift card enabled us to extend our tourist season. Our Stay and Savour campaign saw 5000 gift cards made available to 30 of the Island’s accommodation providers at a 40% discount. Our objective was to leverage government funding to help drive accommodation sales in the shoulder season. Accommodation providers were able to use these discounted gift cards to create their own consumer packages. Our target was 75% redemption and the actual redemption was around 80%.
“The second campaign was our Stay 2 Get $100 campaign where consumers would receive a $100 Canada’s Food Island Gift Card with a stay of 2 consecutive nights. The campaign ran in spring and fall 2021, and spring 2022, to drive sales once more in the shoulder season before peak season. It gave consumers an incentive to visit Prince Edward Island for a staycation, and a reason to get out exploring the island when they arrived. The redemption rate for this campaign was 80%. And, as the gift cards were redeemed at local restaurants, retail outlets, attractions and crafts, the benefit of the Canada’s Food Island Gift Card was felt right across the island, in multiple sectors.”
- Did you target consumers directly with the gift card?
“Direct consumer sales was another segment for us. Consumers were offered a 20% discount on the Canada’s Food Island Gift Card, so spend $40 and get a $50 Canada’s Food Island Gift Card, with the card available at retailers across the island. We targeted the campaign to key purchasing occasions such as back to school, and the holiday season, giving consumers the ability to spend less and get more. Follow up redemptions campaigns involved influencers and local food advocates, where they used Instagram Reels, Facebook and blogs to show how they were enjoying using their Canada’s Food Island Gift Card to go out and dine, experience or stay on Prince Edward Island, which we found very successful.”
- What benefits have you seen from your local gift card?
“One of the top three benefits we had with the Canada’s Food Island Gift Card was increasing incremental consumer spend, up to about 25%. It also increased Canada’s Food Island brand awareness and engagement with consumers, reinforcing that Prince Edward Island truly is a premier culinary destination. Finally, it helped with the covid-19 recovery, to ensure we were able to support local businesses here in the Island.”
- Were bulk orders part of your strategy?
“We added organisations into our second release because so many employers were wanting to buy the gift card for staff. Staff in Canada often contribute to a staff fund and the Canada’s Food Island Gift Card is a great option for employers.”
- Do you have any tips for success for launching a successful local gift card?
“The first is to choose a program that is easy to use. The Canada’s Food Island Gift Card powered by Miconex and EML is easy to work with and easy for customers to use. Making the gift card good value is another. Thanks to funding from the provincial government, we were able to offer an attractive discount, which made the card appealing to consumers, organisations and to our tourism operators. The third is to encourage redemption. Give your merchants the tools they need to show that they accept the card, and empower local people to share their stories of using the card.”
- What are your future plans with the Canada’s Food Island Gift Card?
“The Canada’s Food Island Gift Card has been a great success. Our next steps are to continue to use the card within exciting campaigns to showcase all that we have to offer here on beautiful Prince Edward Island, providing tangible support for our tourism sector and other local businesses.”
For further information on the Canada’s Food Island Gift Card, please visit www.canadasfoodisland.ca