People love giving — and getting — gift cards. Overall, gift cards have been the most requested holiday gift for eight years running, and restaurants gift cards are the second most requested of all, just behind department stores. No surprise there: who wouldn’t want to enjoy a memorable experience at a restaurant, or share it with friends and family?
We created OpenTable Gifts to give restaurants a convenient, personalized, secure way to let guests spread the love. And while gifts are a priority for us all year long, they are especially relevant now, in the months leading up to the holidays. Here are five stats about OpenTable Gifts that may surprise you.
1. More than half of all OpenTable gift cards are sold between October 1 and December 31. Our 2014 data show that from now through the end of the holiday season, gift card sales see a major jump. (If you haven’t signed up yet, now is the time.) And we anticipate this year will be bigger than ever: sales from January to September are already double all of 2014, a trend we expect to continue through the holidays.
2. The average face value of an OpenTable gift card is $99 — and most people spend much more than that. In fact, two-thirds of gift card users spend 38% more than the value of their gift card when they redeem it. Diners using gifts represent great opportunities for upsells, so bring out the wine and dessert menus.
3. 35% of gift card purchases happen between 10 p.m. and 10 a.m. To reach late-night shoppers, it pays to offer gift cards online. Digital gift cards specifically are gaining popularity, growing at an annual rate of 200%, so the more accessible yours are to guests, the better. Message gifts on all of your social media channels, and market them front and center on your website.
4. Restaurants that link to their custom OpenTable gift card page from their website see 60% higher gift card sales than those selling only from OpenTable. Don’t just offer gift certificates through our site — embed the link on your website (and anywhere else you can) for best results.
5. In 2014, OpenTable’s paid search drove 50% of gift sales over the holidays. We at OpenTable are marketing gift cards like crazy, because they’re great for both restaurants and diners. Our gift card and search ads typically rank near the top of organic search results. Plus, paid advertising is a critical part of our strategy to make the program successful throughout the year, including a huge Cyber Monday gift card sale every holiday season.
Photo Credit: Erin Kunkel