The winners of the third-annual Hall of Fame awards, celebrating the best of the UK gift card and voucher industry, have been announced.

The UK Gift Card and Voucher Association’s annual awards saw the gift card-related successes, achievements and innovation of its members, which span the retail, leisure, incentives and payments sectors, celebrated across nine categories.

Mitchells & Butlers won the coveted Industry Retailer – Issuer of the Year accolade, with WeGift being awarded the strongly-contended Industry Service Provider of the Year trophy. M&S for Business took home the award for Best UK Creative Marketing Campaign and Ticketmaster was highly commended in the same category.

Theatre Tokens was also delighted to take home the Most Innovative Technology Product or Service award. Theatre Tokens, an experience-led theatre gift voucher that can be redeemed at over 240 theatres across the UK, won the award for its work to digitalise its nationwide gift card programme, allowing for theatre tokens to be redeemed online. Judges were particularly impressed by how the ambitious project improved the customer experience, increased engagement and enabled flexible, frictionless purchasing for customers.

New categories this year included the Corporate Social Responsibilty (CSR) award, which was deservedly won by National Book Tokens – originators of the UK’s first-ever gift voucher in 1932 – which took home the accolade for its charity work with World Book Day. The Gift Card Programme Team of the Year, also new for 2019, was won by SVS (Stored Value Solutions) and Dixons Carphone, who worked in close collaboration.

The Honoured Contributor of the Year award, voted for by the UKGCVA’s members, was won by Siobhan Moore, partner & global head of cards and payments at Locke Lord LLP and UKGCVA executive committee member. Siobhan was an extremely popular choice, with voters particularly impressed by her tireless work over the past decade to inform UKGCVA members and the wider gift card industry of changing industry legislation. Simon Osgood, SVP & MD of InComm EMEA and Russia, was highly commended.

More than 150 industry professionals attended the event, which was held at 30 Euston Square on Thursday 12th September. The entries were judged by an expert panel, comprised of both UKGCVA members and its executive team.

The Hall of Fame awards follow the recent release of the UKGCVA’s biennial data report, compiled in association with KPMG UK, which highlighted the gift card market’s sustained growth, with the overall market up by 7.2% year-on-year, and B2B sales up by 15.6%. Interestingly, the research also found that digital gift cards and e-vouchers now make up 26.9% of the market, highlighting consumer and business appetite for innovation from the gift card industry.

Gail Cohen, director general of the UKGCVA, commented: “It’s fantastic to be able to recognise the best our industry, which is going from strength to strength, has to offer. We’ve seen some brilliantly innovative work from industry players large and small over the last year, making it extremely difficult to pick the best of the bunch.

“After the success of the previous two years’ awards, we wanted to make this year’s ceremony bigger and better than ever before – a challenge the team rose to superbly. The standard of entries across all categories this year was incredibly high, with worthy winners and commendations across the board. We’ve already got some big plans for next year, so watch this space!”

The awards were sponsored by SVS, the leading global provider of gift cards and stored value services. The awards were sponsored by SVS, the leading global provider of gift cards and stored value services.

Sarah Poynter, VP of Account Services for SVS, commented: “We were delighted and excited to be an integral part of this year’s event, which was once again a fantastic celebration of retailers coming together to celebrate the positive impact the gift card industry has had on consumers and businesses alike over the past year.

“The UKGCVA does a fantastic job promoting awareness of the integral role gift cards play across a wide variety of sectors, raising the profile of the industry for the benefit of all.”