Gift card contest teaches marketing tricks

by | Dec 5, 2014 | News

Clare Jenkins
Environment Reporter

The Hospitality and Tourism Operations Management sales class was working on a final trade show assignment Dec. 4 with a goal to sell more $10 gift cards to Humber students across North campus than their classmates.

Whoever sells the most gift cards will receive the highest mark in the class.

“It’s been a lot of fun to try and learn about one specific brand and how to catch the eye of students,” said Elizabeth O’Niel, 24, who was selling gift cards to Amsterdam BrewHouse in the concourse.

O’Niel may have had some tough competition downstairs in the Humber Students’ Federation Student Centre.

Heather Harlock, 23, and her team are also selling gift cards to Amsterdam BrewHouse but putting a twist on it using a student favorite – Beer Pong.

“The more you sink, the more you save,” said Harlock.

Yulia Mikhalova, 20, and her team were selling gift cards to the Jack Astor’s restaurant chain. They also had an interesting spin on how to get students to pick up the gift cards.

“We have a special pricing offering,” she said. “The more cards you buy, the bigger discount you get.”

“If you buy two cards you only spend 18 dollars but you get to enjoy 20 dollars of food or drinks at Jack Astor’s,” Mikhalova said.

Some of the teams are facing the issue that many students don’t have cash on hand.

“Because we’re selling to students, a lot of them don’t really carry cash on them or are busy with exams or just don’t have the money to buy them,” Harlock said. “We find a lot more faculty are buying than students.”

O’Niel said the timing of the competition may not be ideal.

“Earlier in the year may have been a better time,” she said. “Students get stressed about exams and don’t want to buy around this time of year.”

“Amsterdam is a higher end restaurant and it’s not close to Humber. That turns a lot of students off as well,” Harlock said.

But it appears that Mikhalova and her team are having a lot of success.

“We are sold out already. We sold all the cards and we are very happy about it,” she said.

Giovanni Di Marco, 29, a second-year Paramedic student said he is a big fan of Amsterdam BrewHouse but didn’t know there was a location in Toronto. He said he would love to see more events like this one on campus.

“I think this is great, other similar events like this would be great as well,” he said. “A lot of us get stuck here and don’t get off campus too often.

“So it’s good to know what there is around so that when we do plan trips we have a destination,” Di Marco said.