GCVA Conference 2022 – An Interview with Gail Cohen, Director General
I took up my position as Director-General of the GCVA in 2015, with an aim to place the GCVA at the center of the gift card industry. Our ambition was to create an annual focal point for the industry that recognised the brilliant work of the sector and celebrated all those who are a part of it, as well as increasing membership and ensuring the organisation maintains relevance to industry challenges and opportunities for growth.
We revamped the existing conference with a new format to create a more sophisticated event, with additional elements being introduced every year. Now, taking place over two days, it’s seen as a source of education, innovation, best practice and networking opportunities. The event has become a key date in the industry calendar and attracts gift card, retail, payment, incentive, reward and loyalty professionals from across the globe.
We’ve had many highlights over the years, but in 2021 we held our first virtual conference as the pandemic meant it wasn’t possible to hold an in-person event. Although this required adaptation to a very different format, it opened up the opportunity for more delegates to attend and brought people in the industry together from all around the world, offering new, international perspectives on gift cards.
The virtual event was hosted on our digital conference platform that we created to offer a tailored and immersive experience to all attendees. We received very positive feedback, with many saying it felt just like being there in person.
Each year, we really try to focus on the key topics and challenges in the gift card industry, such as sustainability, the future of the high street, the move to digital and emerging trends. We’ve also had some really great speakers over the years, including presenters, influencers, representatives from KPMG and Global Data, sustainability experts and many more key figures from across the retail, leisure, payments and gift card industry.
This year the conference will be back as an in-person event, in a brand new venue, taking place on the 2nd and 3rd of March. Stored Value Solutions (SVS) will also be returning as our lead sponsor. We’ve got an exciting lineup of expert speakers, such as Marion King, director of payments at NatWest Group and Mark Essex, director of skills at KPMG, who is a very popular returning speaker.
Conference 2022 promises to be the biggest and best yet, confirming its place as the annual go-to event for the gift card and voucher industry. With a focus on innovation and emerging trends, the conference will celebrate the continued growth of the industry, exploring topics such as payment innovation and the rising popularity of B2B. We will also take a look back to 2021 and see how those in the industry adapted to and learnt from the challenges of last year.
To build on the success of the virtual conference, we will be providing access to this year’s conference via a livestream, with catch up facilities, for all delegates. This will enable all members and non-members from the gift card and related industries to be a part of the event even if they are unable to attend in person.
Delegates can expect an array of exciting panels made up of notable experts in the industry, spanning across the two days. We will also have GCVA 101 which is aimed at those who are new to the industry and keen to understand the impact that gift cards can have on their business.
About the GCVA
The Gift Card & Voucher Association (www.gcva.co.uk) was established as a trade body to represent the key players in what is today a £7 billion gift card and stored value solutions market. With 90 members representing key retailers, issuers and suppliers the GCVA provides an information and reference point for the Gift Card & Voucher industry and is at the forefront of the issues affecting the industry.
Its main objective is to provide a platform and infrastructure for the industry and to raise the profile and use of gift cards and vouchers within the UK, promoting the industry to consumers, businesses, government and other interested parties.
The GCVA is the key industry organisation to share new ideas, innovate and promote best practices with the UK gift card and voucher industry. It runs a programme of events, meetings, research projects and updates throughout the year, including its flagship conference, a key date in the industry calendar. The conference, which runs over two days, brings together all stakeholders in the sector to learn, debate, network and focus on the industry.