No Limits for Gifting Owl and Jackie Babbage

Jackie Babbage Gifting Owl

Jackie Babbage
Co-Founder and CEO at Gifting Owl

October 2018

You’ve recently created Gifting Owl.  What is it and what market opportunity did you see?
We saw an opportunity to create a fair experience gifting platform for both customers and tourism operators. Also, as we were delivering experiences ourselves we were noticing huge growth in experience gifting. People are really shifting toward giving experiences over physical ‘things’, especially here in Australia.

What study and career path has taken you to this point in your life?
I studied a double Bachelor of Business (marketing) and Bachelor of Digital Media (graphic design). Throughout my studies I did work experience for Gold Coast Tourism, where I fell in love with the industry. Since then I have worked with dozens of small to medium sized tourism operators who deliver experiences here in Queensland.

You’ve pulled together some great experiences. What parts of the world are priorities for Gifting Owl to showcase new experiences?
We’re really focused on selling here in Australia for the time being, but we accept tours and activities from all corners of the globe. We currently have experiences listed in 91 countries and over 1,000 cities.

What trends do you see consumers seeking in 3 years from now?
Three years from now purchasing will become more last minute and convenience driven, in every industry. In tourism I see local experiences that offer a way to completely disconnect becoming more and more popular. I also believe we will see more affordable international airlines make travel more accessible to new markets.

You’ve spent some time in the adventure tourism space, what is Australia doing well and what can we improve?
I believe we’ve done really well in marketing Australia as a destination for adventure travel. You see that anywhere you go really, with the majority of youth backpackers dreaming of visiting our shores.
There are plenty of ways we can be using technology to our advantage, the simplest being taking online bookings. But the majority of adventure tourism operators don’t.

I also think there is huge opportunity to create amazing outback experiences for the youth backpacker market, and improving transport options to make these more accessible. These ‘off the grid’ style experiences are what adventure travellers are seeking, and truly showcase Australia. Boosting local economies with tourism expenditure plus giving adventure travellers a true Aussie Outback experience, win-win!

Building a start-up take takes great time, energy and focus. What can you share with others who aspire for the journey?
Don’t be afraid to lean on your family and friends, they are your greatest supporters. And always remember to celebrate your wins, no matter how small they may seem.

On a lighter note ….

What part of the world is on your next vacation itinerary?
South America (When there is finally time for a vacation!)

When you arrive home from a week away what do you like doing?
Enjoying my morning coffee at the beach

When hitting the kitchen what is your hero dish(s)?
Thai green curry

If you could wave a magic wand what one problem in Australia would you fix?
The impact we’ve had on the environment

Favourite web site(s)?

What is the one thing you always pack when travelling (apart from a phone charger)?
Ear plugs

No Expiry

Jackie Babbage on LinkedIn