Reflecting on The Big Handshake

On a slightly chilly Tuesday at the end of September, 115 loyalty, gift card, incentive and reward experts made their way to London for The Gift Club’s debut event.

Hosted by our founder, Hadie, The Big Handshake opened its doors at 2pm, ready for an afternoon packed with insightful panel discussions and match-made networking.

We welcomed nearly every guest in the first 17 minutes (is that some kind of record?), adorning them with colour-coded name tags and pointing them in the direction of the coffee.

Shortly after that, Hadie made her introductory speech to the sounds of whooping and clapping in the audience. In a nod to the event name, Hadie had the whole room shake as many hands as possible in 30 seconds.

 “Such a great event! From the moment you walked through the door, you could feel the amount of love and effort that had gone into the Big Handshake. Well done to The Gift Club team!”
Megan Possamai, Coniq

Valuable insights from two great panels

We held two panel sessions surrounding key, industry-relevant topics.

Panel One discussed the way that employee engagement influences customer loyalty. This session was hosted by The Loyalty People’s MD, Tom Peace, and moderated by Julie Barbier-Leblan, CEO of Merit Incentives.

A compelling conversation, our panellists Eleanor, Peter, Jane, and Dave discussed the behavioural vs data aspects of engagement and loyalty. Perry, award winning HR expert, talked about whether employee behaviour can be changed in line with company transformations.

“I was stunned that there is technology that can show how employee engagement can affect the bottom line in pounds. Literally, can be seen in the P&L”
By Hadie Perkas, The Gift Club

Before kicking off session two, we were pleased to hear from our sustainability partner, Ecologi. Charlie gave us a great insight into the fantastic work that Ecologi is doing across the world and shared information about their One Million Trees campaign. You can find out more about this here.

Panel session two turned to an entirely different topic within the industry. Fraud and the importance of preventing it. Our experts looked at the way in which hackers and scammers can affect businesses and individuals. This panel was led by Denis Huré from Reward the World and featured experts from UK Finance and the Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit (DCPCU).

Panellists Sarah, Cat, Paul and Michael talked about the main growth areas within fraud criminality; discussing the change in language, the complexity of new scams and the best ways to protect yourself.

The session ended with an insight into the Take Five campaign, led by UK Finance. Their mantra of ‘Stop. Challenge. Protect.’ has been designed to help individuals and companies across the UK to recognise and report fraudulent activity.

“The sessions were relatable and didn’t feel too jargon-filled or technical. They were brought to life with real-life experiences. The psychological spin was really interesting on both fraud and engagement topics.”
Carmen Lord-Gracias, The Loyalty People

Meaningful networking

Our promise to attendees was to create a more tailored networking experience. We asked all ticket holders to fill out a networking priorities form that helped us to match high-potential contacts with one another.

The result was even better than we expected. A simple colour-coded name badge was all it took to ensure quality, lead-generating conversations were had. It was a great icebreaker too!

The networking agendas were kindly sponsored by BitCard.

“A good place for meeting new friends and strengthening your existing network. I got to make many new partners here and it has been good to meet with everyone face to face. This industry pioneering event should be done annually!”
Jeffrey Lau, Globetopper

MAGICAL entertainment and a great end to the evening

What’s an event without some fun? To close the evening, we brought in a caricaturist and a magician who it’s safe to say left some of our attendees speechless!

Sponsored by Roiward, the drinks and canapes were flowing before the second panel session had even finished.

“Overall I really enjoyed today, loved my caricature, loved the magician and really enjoyed seeing some familiar faces and meeting many new ones.”
Ryan Vennell, Giftcloud

“It was a very well organised event – total fun and the pre-event comms were great! I am so impressed, I can’t believe this is only the first event from The Gift Club. I flew 7.5 hours to be here and I do not regret it!
Viji Kannan, YouGotAGift Dubai

In true style for the incentives industry, we had a little incentivised action for all attendees who filled out our feedback form before 6pm – a £500 travel gift card from – Congratulations to Jeffrey Lau of Globetopper!

As the evening finished, each attendee left with a BitCard sponsored goody bag. Edward Gieske from BitCard said “I think we had great exposure at the event. Our logo placement on the goody bags and networking agendas propelled multiple people to start conversations with me throughout the day.”

 We’re looking forward to seeing you next time!

We couldn’t have pulled this together without the support of our partners and sponsors. So once again, a big thank you to Merit Incentives, Reward the World, ROIward, BitCard, The Loyalty People, Ecologi and Take Five.

As our debut event, we feel like it went pretty well – and thankfully, it seems that our wonderful members agree!

“A lovely, well-organised event. The two panels were fantastic and the venue was intimate. Looking forward to the next one already!”
Adam Coburn, Blackhawk Network Europe

“Fantastic day with informative sessions. The Gift Club has really brought people in the gifting and rewards industry together. I wouldn’t be a part of anything else!”
Maddy Alexander-Grout, My VIP Rewards

We’re so grateful for everyone who came and everyone who has posted their experience on LinkedIn.

We WILL be returning with another Big Handshake in 2023. So, keep an eye out for your invitations and early bird tickets! To help us plan the best event possible, make sure you fill out our feedback form if you haven’t already.


Related Posts