Well, what a year! Definitely one we will all remember. I’m Danni Rush, CCO at Virgin Incentives and Virgin Experience Days and with all that’s going on in the world and in our business, what better time to share my personal view on how I’m feeling, what we are doing as a business and our future business plans.
Firstly, things are looking up
With the news that over 22,000,000 people have now been vaccinated and that the vaccine has supported the reduction of hospitalisation and deaths from Covid-19, I feel confident the roadmap out of lockdown is going to bring some positivity for all of us. For me, my parents and grandparents have now been vaccinated, making this achievement really hit home.
We are also excited as home schooling is now complete, we are aligning calendars with close family and friends that we’re desperate to see and thinking about when we can have a Spring BBQ. Most of us will have had challenging times over the past 12 months, particular with our mental health, and the roadmap out of lockdown feels very energising, just what we needed to refocus on the future.
The excitement in our business is also building up, the teams are keen to get back to the office and see each other and we’re all looking forward to going out and about to meet our amazing suppliers and partners.
As a business, we reacted to the impact of Covid-19 and the closure of most of our experiences as a chance to invest in our future. We pivoted our product range and provided a brand new range of stay-at-home experiences, whilst making sure our more traditional experiences were still there to give everyone something to look forward to when restrictions were lifted, and people could safely go out again.
We have focused on supporting our team, customers and partners through this time and are now focusing on optimising the bounce back opportunity that is within touching distance. We know our experiences create memories and we also believe, now more than ever, our teams stay focused and each team member is individually supported. Over the past 12 months, we have implemented numerous engagement practices and team building activities that have helped everyone to work from home and balance their personal and professional lives. My aim is to continue to support our teams throughout the rest of the year and build on our key engagement and wellbeing strategies.
Extraordinary Experiences go to U.S.
On 1st March 2021, our Virgin Experience Days business acquired leading U.S. experience gift provider Cloud 9 Living. The two brands are market leaders in the reward and gift experience industry, with Virgin Experience Days using the acquisition as a springboard for further growth into the U.S. experience market estimated at $1bn with substantial scope for future development.
As part of the Virgin family, Cloud 9 Living will be rebranded as Virgin Experience Gifts in the U.S. market. Our plans for the U.S. business include a deeper expansion into additional U.S. area’s, we will also look to broaden the product range on offer and introduce unique and exclusive experiences.
Cloud 9 Living joins the Virgin family at such an exciting time, as we see other successful growing Virgin brands, including Virgin Hotels, Virgin Voyages, Virgin Hyperloop and those shooting for the stars at Virgin Galactic and Virgin Orbit.
Our CEO, Richard Hurd Wood stated, “This acquisition marks an exciting chapter for the Virgin Experience Days brand in the U.S. The Virgin brand has strong recognition already in the U.S. and the acquisition of Cloud 9 Living bolsters our product proposition around extraordinary experiences for people to enjoy together. We have no doubt that shared, enriching experiences represent the future of gifting”.
Cloud 9 Living said, “We are thrilled to be joining the Virgin brand family. The opportunity in the U.S. experience gift market is enormous and largely untapped. Merging with an industry leader like Virgin Experience Days will enable us to rapidly accelerate growth as we work towards making unforgettable experiences the #1 gift of choice here in the U.S.”
With the business expanding into new territories, Summer right around the corner and as we all gain momentum for the UK roadmap out of lockdown, there’s lot’s we can look forward too.