New gift card scheme to benefit Bristol businesses is launching this month

A new gift card scheme is being launched to drive spending in shops and hospitality in Bristol post-pandemic

It’s no secret that towns, cities and businesses all across the UK are working hard at rebuilding post-pandemic, and focusing on getting footfall back through the doors.

Luckily for Bristol business owners, three of Bristol’s business improvement districts are funding the launch of a new gift card for the city with all sizes and types of city centre businesses eligible to join for free.

The Love Bristol Gift Card is the brainchild of Bristol City Centre BID, Redcliffe & Temple BID and Broadmead BID, and is an initiative to drive forward recovery in the city centre after the effects of Covid-19.

They are hoping the card will boost spending with local businesses, including shops, restaurants and hotels.

Working in the same manner as any other gift card that you might receive as a present, through work as a thank you, or as a reward, the Love Bristol Gift Card will just work to promote a local version of a standard gift card model.

The card aims to drive spending in local businesses

Working through the Mastercard network, retail, hospitality, leisure, health and beauty, accommodation and services can register to accept the Love Bristol Gift Card as an additional payment method, and no extra equipment is required.

Crucially, to make it personal to Bristol, ​​the card features illustrations depicting iconic Bristol landmarks, from Bristol Shopping Quarter to Park Street, and a nod to Bristol City Centre BID’s 2020 and 2021 Hearts in Parks campaign where hundreds of socially distanced hearts were painted in the city’s parks for the public to use and enjoy.

Steve Bluff, Head of Redcliffe & Temple BID said: “Now is the right time to launch a gift card for Bristol city centre. As we come out of the pandemic, the gift card is an opportunity for our businesses to get behind a program that will keep spend local and further enhance recovery efforts across the city.

“Any business that accepts Mastercard within our BID boundaries can join – even if they are not BID levy payers.”

All sorts of businesses in the city centre of Bristol can get involved

Mr Bluff also believes it will encourage gifting, both personal and corporate. He states that “40% of people have purchased a gift card over the last few years, with a similar percentage receiving at least one gift card as a reward from their workplace.”

The new card is aiming to meet that demand, but package it up in a more local way. Hopefully, it will drive tourism to the city and local spend within the city, too.

Launching in June, the card will be available to buy online, in either physical or digital format, making it the simple choice to buy as a gift for anyone who visits, lives or works in Bristol.

The Love Bristol Gift Card features iconic Bristol illustrations

Beth Betts, Marketing Manager for the three BIDs, said: “Bristol is a digital city, so it was important that we made our new gift card digitally enabled too.

“This option gives customers the opportunity to send a gift instantly from anywhere in the world, and is a great choice for employers who prefer sustainable staff incentives which keeps spend local. Whether people choose a physical or digital card, the benefit will stay here in Bristol.”

With a similar programme already in place in other cities, through the award-winning Town & City Gift Card programme from fintech Miconex, the team are confident it will contribute to a thriving and lively city.

Ms Betts adds: “There is strong evidence of the economic benefit of local gift card programmes that we can emulate with our Love Bristol Gift Card, providing tangible support for city centre businesses and generating significant spend.”

What’s even better is that the team have collaborated with the University of the West of England’s (UWE) summer Undergraduate Internship Scheme to recruit a final year student to support with marketing and businesses engagement.