Blackhawk Provides ‘Upside’ for Companies, Business Travelers
Blackhawk Network’s expansion into the incentives industry continues to bear fruit. In its latest partnership, business travel site Upside will be offering its customers incentives, including gift cards from the more than 50 merchants in Blackhawk’s network.
Washington, D.C.-based Upside, which was created by Priceline founder Jay Walker, lowers travel expenses for companies by bundling flight and hotel choices. Companies also can save money if employees are flexible in their travel plans and, in return, the employees are rewarded with gift cards.
Businesses are looking at how to get more engagement out of their employees, according to Talbott Roche, Blackhawk CEO and president. “By using branded value as an incentive mechanism, Upside’s concept is a great example of how businesses can build engagement and change behavior with their company travelers.”
During last year’s APEX conference in March, Roche told Paybefore she was excited about Blackhawk’s move “from just fulfilling needs for consumers at retail but now also moving to fulfilling the needs of corporate and using gift cards more as rewards and incentives that really stimulate engagement with customers and employees.”
Roche also stressed engagement during Money20/20 last October, discussing the importance for businesses to capitalize on the popularity of other brands to improve their own value and to stand out in the eyes of consumers. For example, Roche cited the case of someone using a credit card to accumulate points that can be converted instantly to an e-gift for a popular brand, such as Nike or Apple. She added that startups, too, can benefit from partnering with existing brands. At the time, Blackhawk’s program with Upside was in beta.
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