Cheshire-based Inspire claims to have become the first company in the UK to offer 100% financial protection for its travel gift cards.
It says it is now operating its Travel Card by Inspire on a new trust account model, which it developed during lockdown.
Inspire’s Group CEO Peter Pantelides said the trust account is the first of its kind in the UK for a gift card retailer.
“In the wake of the pandemic, consumer confidence in the travel industry has taken a knock and we wanted to find a way of reassuring our travel gift card customers that their money is completely safe in any eventuality,” he said.
“By operating our own trust account, it means that we can offer 100% financial protection.”
Mr Pantelides claimed other gift card providers can’t make the same guarantees, which means if their business fails, their gift card holders and any corporate clients holding stock, could be left out of pocket.
Travel gift cards and vouchers are not covered by ATOL protection. Neither is money deposited in ‘gift lists’, such as those for wedding guests to pay for the couple’s honeymoon, which are offered by several operators and retailers.
Kuoni said last year that a ‘wedding gift list’ typically holds £2,000 to £3,000. A spokesperson said its gift cards are also popular, especially for ‘big zero’ birthdays and anniversaries.
Mr Pantelides said Inspire has seen ‘a dramatic’ renewal in appetite for gift cards since the start of April. “Sale stand at more than 150% of what was sold in the whole of the previous financial year,” he said.
Its travel gift card can be redeemed for holidays, cruises, flights, UK staycation breaks, weekend trips, and holiday ancillaries, such as airport lounges, transfers, parking and car hire.
Inspire works with numerous corporate customers across the UK who use the cards to reward, recognise and motivate their employees, drive third-party channel business, incentivise sales staff, and run consumer sales promotions.
Mr Pantelides added: “Travel is a very powerful and flexible reward offering and appeals to just about everybody. We have more than 10 years of running a travel gift card, and with the new trust account model in place, we believe it’s the most trusted gift card proposition in the market today.”