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South Africa’s innovative experience-based e-gifting site, Isipo, is now live. The concept was launched at Micros South Africa’s Hospitality TechConnect 22 event in October 2022, and is a joint project with Singapore-based CPR Vision Management. Reginald Sibeko, Managing Director at Micros SA, says that Isipo is designed to help hospitality companies increase direct and repeat business, acquire new customers, and reward and win back existing customers.

“The days when you simply sell a room or a meal are now over—consumers are looking for curated experiences, and the trend has accelerated since the COVID-19 lockdowns,” he says. “Isipo provides a unique platform on which members of the hospitality industry can offer a range of tempting experiences to existing and prospective customers.”

There is an emerging consensus that the pandemic and its associated lockdowns have prompted a shift in people’s priorities. According to research conducted by the White Hutchinson Leisure & Learning Group, household expenditure globally on goods has declined by 19% since 1996, while expenditure on real-world experiences has grown by 12% over the same period. Digital experiences have grown by an astonishing 116%.

Travelling remains the most sought-after experience, with people prepared to spend more on luxury travel experiences. Guided cultural activities and wellness tourism are two segments that are showing considerable growth, while special dining experiences are also increasingly popular, all according to data from the Microsoft Advertising Network.

Isipo was developed by CPR Vision Management on a platform that is widely used in the Asia Pacific region. Because the platform is Web-based, it is very easy and intuitive to use, and requires no new equipment. There’s literally no risk and it is extremely cost effective, Sibeko adds.

Several vendors are already offering experiences on the site. They include Adam & James, Baker’s More, Cappello and Coastlands Hotels & Resorts. Discussions with new vendors are ongoing.

Micros SA is in the process of concluding an agreement with Vodapay to add Isipo as a miniApp on the Vodapay platform, making it easy for consumers to pay for their chosen experiences and reach a larger consumer base. Further announcements aimed at extending the site’s reach will be made in due course.

“To prosper in today’s and tomorrow’s hospitality industry as it evolves, companies will need to become skilled at using technology platforms like Isipo to learn more and more about their customers and use that data to craft ever more tempting experiences,” Sibeko says. “Hospitality companies that get this right will build a loyal and expanding customer base. Isipo is the ideal partner to help them build up this vital expertise.”

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