Airbnb Launches Digital Gift Cards for UK Customers

Loyalty programs and other special offerings are popular in the U.K., where 76% of all consumers receive regular rewards or discounts from at least one of the businesses with which they shop. This data was revealed in a recent PYMNTS report on ‘Making Loyalty Work For Small Businesses’, published in collaboration with the U.K.-based software firm Pollinate.

See the report: PYMNTS Report – ‘Making Loyalty Work For Small Businesses’

Home-sharing giant Airbnb is tapping into this opportunity ahead of the festive season, announcing the debut of its gift card service in the country for the first time, after previously launching the cards in the U.S., Australia, Canada, Germany, Spain, Italy and France.

Since Tuesday (Nov. 9), U.K. shoppers can use any major credit cards and Apple Pay to purchase digital gift cards from Airbnb’s website, making it easy for customers to gift friends, family and loved ones their dream Christmas holiday, for example.

Digital gift cards purchased in the U.K. can only be redeemed by users living in the U.K.; however, recipients can spend the card value on any stay, in-person or online experience around the world. To further entice customers, the company has stated that funds on a gift card added to an Airbnb account will not expire.

“Christmas gifting can be notoriously stressful and last-minute, so we’re excited to be launching the Airbnb gift card in the U.K. — a gift for the holidays that will capture the heart of any globetrotter,” Amanda Cupples, general manager for Northern Europe at Airbnb, said in a statement.

“We hope that these gift cards can make the upcoming festivities extra special this year and get everyone excited for what lies ahead in 2022,” Cupples continued, adding that the wide variety of booking possibilities on Airbnb will put the world at the fingertips of customers.

See also: Airbnb Logs ‘Best Quarter Ever’ Signaling Strong 2022 Travel Rebound

Even though the company has made provision for physical gift cards available at participating stores like Target, Walmart and Walgreens, the advantage of digital cards cannot be understated in a country like the U.K.

According to the PYMNTS report, published in collaboration with Pollinate, loyalty program users were unhappy with the ones they currently have and are seeking new offerings because they have concerns about the value received from rewards programs and the security of their personal data.

The report further revealed that U.K. customers are more likely to not be interested in local loyalty programs than consumers in other countries, like the U.S. and Australia. This is because they worry that these programs might be too complicated or because they don’t want to have to carry around paper coupons or cards in their wallets.

To alleviate these frictions and capitalize on this opportunity, the report hinted that digital rewards programs may be a possible solution for U.K. businesses, something the global marketplace seems to have taken into consideration with their digital gift card.

Further reading: Airbnb: Trusted Payments Are The Connected Economy’s Backbone

In May of this year, Airbnb’s Global Head of Payments, Sam Shrauger, spoke to PYMNTS about the company’s need to inspire customer trust in the platform, in the host and the payments experience.

Shrauger said that trust, enabled by the Airbnb payments experience, is a key cornerstone for the connections the booking platform makes possible between Airbnb, the guest and host — and the many value-added experiences it offers.

“The foundation for everything we do is trust — it’s trust that we’re going to meet their needs today and be ready to meet the ones they or we haven’t even thought of yet that will arise tomorrow,” Shrauger said.