The winners of the 2021 GCVA Hall of Fame Awards, celebrating the best of the UK gift card and voucher industry, have been announced.
The awards, organised by the Gift Card & Voucher Association (GCVA), returned this year to recognise the extraordinary efforts of the GCVA members, which span the retail, leisure, incentives and payments sectors, across 10 prestigious categories. Linking many of the winners this year were projects that placed customer needs at the heart of the solution, supporting those who needed it most following an extremely difficult 18 months for many.

Tesco Bank was among the big winners on the night, taking home a staggering three awards, which is the first “hat-trick” in the history of the ceremony. The business won both “Best Creative Marketing Campaign” and “Best B2C Product or Service” for its Tesco Bonus Card, which was praised by judges for its innovation and, again, supporting customers that may be going through financial difficulties by helping their money go further. Tesco Bank also won the coveted “Industry Retailer / Issuer of the Year” gong for managing to support customers during the pandemic, while achieving a significant 65% year-on-year (YoY) growth in gift card sales.

Specialist gift card, loyalty and financial services consultancy Boon & Boon took home two awards for its work with financial solutions provider borofree, supporting the creation of an innovative salary advance product based around gift cards. The product, which comes with no costs, fees or interest, won both the “Big Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Award” and the “Most Innovative Initiative” award. Launched earlier this year, judges’ praise focused around the positive timing of the launch during a period when so many were experiencing financial hardship.

Looking to the corporate side of the industry, Giftcloud won the hotly-contested “Best B2B Product or Service” award for its work with Vodafone and Uswitch in delivering continually-optimised reward campaigns for customers looking to change their broadband provider.

Following a year in which multi-store gift cards came to the fore, One4All Gift Cards won the strongly-contended “Industry Team of the Year” award for its robust and comphrehensive communications plan over the past year – the success of which was exemplified through the strong growth achieved by the business in a rapidly-shifting market.

The “Best Customer Experience” award was won by digital gift card provider Prezzee. Staying true to the theme of customer advocacy that was evident across the evening. Judges highlighted Prezzee’s main differentiator as being its outstanding customer service, with impressively high customer retention rates to match.

The annual industry Honoured Industry Contibutor award went to Gareth Gillatt, co-founder and executive chairman at digital gift card pioneers Tillo. Gareth was recognised with this prestigious accolade as voted for by the GCVA membership. Tillo itself also did not leave empty-handed, picking up the coveted prize for “Industry Service Provider of the Year” after being Highly Commended in a number of other categories throughout the evening.

Speaking on his win, Gareth commented: “As an entrepreneur, you’re constantly looking forward and striving for the next big milestone as you continue to build your business. Very rarely, if ever, do you get a chance to take a moment and reflect on what you’ve achieved but at the GCVA Hall of Fame Awards evening that moment presented itself. To be recognised and honoured by my industry colleagues was an extremely touching moment which brought me to tears on the night.

“I hope this award goes some way to inspiring the next cohort of business leaders to dream big and follow their dreams with the unrelenting passion it takes to make a difference.”

Gail Cohen, director general of the GCVA, commented: “It has been truly fantastic to be able to once again celebrate the achievements of our wonderful industry how we should – together and in person. It has been an interesting challenge to organise such an event in thse times, however there has been a huge appetite from our members to come together, network and see many much-missed colleagues once again. Such an event would not be possible without our brilliant members, team and sponsors, and we thank them all for their continued support.

“Along with our annual conference, these yearly awards are among the most hotly-anticipated fixtures in the industry calendar, representing the very best we have to offer. We’re already looking forward to next year and seeing how our members are able to top the stunning entries put forth this year, which will be no small challenge!”

Commenting on their win, Ban Mahsoub, head of money services at Tesco Bank, said: “The Hall of Fame Awards are always an annual highlight for the gift card industry and those it supports. To walk away with multiple awards on the night, and the recognition of our esteemed peers, was fantastic!

“Gift cards really came to the fore throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, enabling us to support our customers in a number of ways that simply would not have been practical, or even possible, through any other medium. We’re extremely proud of our team for all the award-winning work they have done and continue to do, as well as the gift card industry as a whole for all the innovation and hard work they continually bring forth. We’re already looking forward to next year.”

Held at the iconic St Pancras International Renaissance Hotel, the awards brought more than 220 influential industry figures together to celebrate the best and brightest of the gift card industry. The event, which also included guest presenter Doon Mackichan, attracted a number of leading industry sponsors such as Appreciate Group as lead sponsor, Stored Value Solutions (SVS) and BlackHawk Network.