Launching Virgin Experience Gifts in the US

Woman in white shirt shaking a cocktail maker
Virgin Experience Days
Natalie Clarkson
by Natalie Clarkson
8 July 2021

Virgin Experience Days has recently branched out across the pond and launched as Virgin Experience Gifts in the US. We caught up with CEO Richard Hurd-Wood to find out more...

Virgin Experience Gifts is on a mission to establish experiences as the gift of choice. And there are loads of options to choose from, no matter who you’re buying for. Looking for the perfect present for someone who loves trying new things? Take a look at Virgin Experience Gifts’ range of action and adventure gifts. Opt for a pampering treat for someone who’s been working hard and deserves a break. Or check out Virgin Experience Gifts’ range of getaways to give a loved one a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Richard said: “It’s a bit of a cliche but we do buy into the idea that the ‘best things in life aren’t things’. Experiences are unique in that they really show you know the person, you can do them together, and you remember them long after the day itself – they’re genuinely life-affirming.”

Richard Hurd Wood
Virgin Experience Gifts

At Virgin Experience Gifts, they think of experiences as the gift that keeps giving. “There are all the kudos that comes with having the most eye-catching gift at the table, then unlike other gifts, you get to set a date and have something to look forward to in the weeks ahead. There are so many experiences on offer now that you can go as big and bold as you want, it could be a casual lunch experience that you add onto a day out you have planned, or it could be the real showpiece – something that’s once in a lifetime – like a skydive.

“If you ask somebody what they got for their birthday or Christmas a year ago, they’d struggle, but people don’t forget an experience. This memorability aspect is a huge plus point that’s fairly unique to experiences in the gifting space.”

Starting up

Launching a new business always comes with challenges. But doing that in the middle of a pandemic, with team members on either side of the Atlantic certainly makes it even more interesting. Richard said: “Normally we’d have key stakeholders in the room, and to date, we’ve not met any of our US colleagues face to face. We’re looking forward to putting this right when travel restrictions allow us to do so, aligning our values and purpose and building a really strong international team.”

A Virgin Experience Gifts gift card
Virgin Experience Gifts

Despite the pandemic, it’s an exciting time for Virgin Experience Gifts, and the next year should be a big one. “Not only are experiences starting to come roaring back as consumer confidence grows, but our growth is now supercharged by the Virgin brand,” Richard said. “There’s so much good stuff going on Stateside across the Virgin family, and we’re proud to be able to add experiences to this very impressive list. 

“While experiences as gifts are conceptually well known in the UK, they are much less widely recognised in America. The opportunity to own the space here, establish ourselves as market leaders, and deliver plenty of Virgin sparkle along the way is the stuff of dreams for a CEO.”

Experience gifts have, like many things, been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. But with the rollout of the vaccine proving successful in both the UK and the US, Richard is hoping that things will be back to normal very soon. “We know how hard our experience partners have worked to meet and surpass COVID protocols. It’s been a privilege to watch so many not only survive but thrive during the pandemic and we’ve every faith that they’re going to be better than ever now they’re reopening,” he said.

And experience gifts are likely to be a popular choice in a post-COVID world. “After the year we’ve had nothing’s going to beat getting back together with the people we’ve missed the most,” Richard said. “The majority of our experiences are shared, and in all likelihood, if you’ve played your cards right, you’ve got every chance of securing the coveted ‘plus-one’ spot. So right now, we think experiences as a gifting option are better than ever.”

Visit Virgin Experience Gifts to find out more.