Gift Experience Days – a Buyer's Guide

Considering how popular gift experience days are, you’d think they’d be easy to buy. Well, they are, but there are so many ways you can get it oh so wrong for the person you’re buying for.

Here we take a look at all the things you need to read and consider when buying a gift experience for someone, from the dates the event takes place, where it takes place, how long it lasts and any other restrictions.

Consumers are challenged to educate themselves before making all sorts of high end purchases and buying gift experience days is no exception.

Thankfully every product has an abundance of information. However, the majority of customer complaints stem from the buyer having not read the information before making a purchase and/or the recipient having not read the information before trying to book an experience.

1. Date

Some experiences only take place during the summer, usually due to the weather. So if you were buying a gift for someone whose birthday is in September and the experience only runs from May to August, they would have to wait a whole year before they could use it.

Although on the plus side, gift experience vouchers are valid for 12 months from the date of purchase.

2. Duration

Some experiences have a number of different price points based on their length. So while a £30 helicopter ride may sound like a bargain, it may only be 5 minutes long. So always check how long something takes. After all, imagine buying a helicopter ride for someone and it takes an hour to drive to the airfield for just a 5 minute ride. It would be a big disappointment to say the least.

3. Location

While most experiences take place at locations nationwide, some only take place in a handful of venues or even just 1 location. Imagine booking an animal experience of a lifetime for someone to shadow a Big Cat keeper, but they live in Manchester and the only place you can do this is in Hertfordshire? That’s at least a 3 hour car journey or a £60 train ride (booked in advance) into London and back out again.

4. Other restrictions

Other things which make an experience unsuitable for a recipient include age restrictions, height restrictions, requirement of a driving license and even certain health conditions.

Common complaints

The majority of customer complaints about experience days are from problems typically caused by the person who purchased the voucher as a gift for them.

Restrictive dates, lack of locations and short durations are the most common complaints.
However, these could all be avoided if the buyer (and often the recipient) took time to read the information about each product.

To get around this, savvy shoppers have been buying Ultimate Choice packages instead, which contain a loosely themed bundle of around 20 different experiences to choose from.

However, recipients can also call up the experience companies and ask to swap their vouchers for something else if it’s really not what they want and simply pay the difference.

Due to the more complex nature of purchasing and using experience day gift vouchers, consumer education is really important. However, while the information is all there, this is an instance of consumers needing to take the time to read and digest it in order to make a better informed buying decision.