Autumn Promotion: Up to 2 Free Design Changes on all Custom Printed Cards

To mark the beginning of Autumn, we’re offering the chance to have up to three designs in total on the same print run, for the same price.

printed membership cards
Antenna use 3 different designs for their membership categories

In other words, you could order 1,000 membership cards and split the run into three different designs – so each membership category gets a different colour card and design for example; making them easy to recognise.

The promotion runs until 31st October 2018 and applies to all custom printed cards, key tags, 2-part snap-off cards, event passes, parking permits or car park hangers.

Why would you want 2 free design changes anyway?

The greater the volume of cards you order, the lower the price per card. By combining multiple cards into one run, you benefit from a lower unit price, plus you don’t have to pay the usual extra design charges.

If you run an events company for example, this is a great opportunity to combine multiple events into one print run: branding your cloakroom tags or entry passes to each individual specific event, rather than having one generic one.

plastic cloakroom tags for casinos
Hippodrome Casino have different coloured tags for their different Cloakrooms

Or if you have different Cloakrooms, like the Hippodrome Casino for example, you can colour code them to suit.

Hotel companies with multiple hotels can get each hotel’s key cards produced at the same time and achieve considerable cost savings.

We often find hotels use the design change to produce seasonal key cards – advertising their Christmas or New Year offers for example.

 

How to take advantage of the offer

This offer isn’t available online. Simply call us and mention this promotion at the time of ordering, and we’ll send you a custom quote.

The small print

This promotion only applies to a run of ‘like-for-like’ cards or custom printed products. You can’t split the order between multiple types of cards, e.g. between Cloakroom tags with a hole punch and plastic cards with embossed numbering.

Check out our latest prices.

Two of the best Plastic Card Printers from a GDPR perspective

If you print your own ID cards, loyalty cards or membership cards using a plastic card printer, or you’re considering doing so in light of the new GDPR, there are a few things to consider: Sample transport card

  • How are you keeping your data safe?
  • How are you preventing unauthorised users from accessing your printer or ribbon?
  • Are you securely deleting the data left behind after the cards are printed?

Two plastic card printers stand out as being ‘GDPR’ ready – and here are the reasons why.

The IDP Smart 51

Why it’s great for GDPR

The Smart 51’s strength lies in making it very difficult for unauthorised people to access your data in the first place. It comes with the option of 2 locks to keep your printer and cards protected from unauthorised use.

  1. Ribbon and card lock

As you’d expect, this lock keeps your ribbon and cards safe. Only the person with the key can unlock and use the printer – preventing bogus use.

  1. Kensington Lock

We’ve heard a few stories of card printers going walkabout from reception desks, particularly in colleges. The Kensington lock secures the printer to a desk.

What else has it got going for it?

The Smart 51 is fast, powerful and prints high quality cards (up to 212 colour cards per hour and 720 single colour cards per hour). Its state-of-the-art CPU display makes it easy to use and it’s entirely scalable – you can choose to upgrade to double sided print, add encoding capabilities or lamination later.

The fact that it comes with a 5-year warranty (the longest in the market) shows the confidence that IDP Smart has in its printers.

What’s the cost?

You can pick up a Smart 51 for around £700 + VAT. We currently have a special package available with a host of free extras, including software and the two locks for just £749 + VAT.

The package includes:

  • Smart 51 single sided card printer
  • Ribbon & Card lock (usually an extra £65)
  • Kensington lock (usually an extra £40)
  • Extended rear output hopper (usually an extra £40)
  • Easybadge Lite software
  • YMCKO ribbon, 300 prints
  • 100 blank cards
  • Cleaning kit
  • 5 year warranty

HID Fargo DTC1500

Why it’s great for GDPR

The HID Fargo DTC1500 comes with a host of distinctive security features that makes this plastic card printer the ultimate in data protection.

  1. Unique printer ribbon resin scramble renders all the personal information unreadable

Just what is a resin scramble anyway?

If you use a direct-to-card plastic card printer, you might not realise that all the personal information for each card remains on the printer ribbon after its printed.

When you print the next card, the ribbon simply spools forward, leaving the information behind.

The DTC’s resin scramble feature hides all this information within a resin panel – rendering it unreadable. Which secures your data from any potential breach.

  1. Standard password protection and AES 256 data encryption

Both features provide extra peace of mind and protection from any unauthorised use.

  1. Custom watermark overlay

This allows you to lay your own logo or customised security image over your cards as a transparent watermark, making duplication of your cards almost impossible.

These key features are some of the reasons the DTC1500 is favoured by government organisations, healthcare facilities, schools and colleges.

What else has it got going for it?

The DTC1500 is a powerful, robust card printer, capable of printing 225 high quality colour cards per hour.

One of its big claims is its Low Cost, high-capacity consumables. This basically means that the ribbons are capable of printing more cards – making your ‘cost-per-card’ lower than it would be with other printers.

What’s the cost?

The HID Fargo DTC1500 comes with a higher price tag than the Smart 51s, but then you get what you pay for.

We currently have a printer package on offer for £1049 + VAT. This includes:

  • HID Fargo DTC 1500 single sided card printer with USB and ethernet
  • YMCKO Ribbon, 500 prints
  • 200 blank cards
  • Built-in Swift ID® badging software (this software prints cards without saving records or databases, ideal for data security)
  • 3-year warranty (printer and printhead).

If you need your software to do a little more, for example connect to Office Excel or MS Access, you can upgrade to CardPresso XS card software for an extra £120, or CardPresso XM for an extra £200.

Whatever printer you choose, make sure you shred your printer ribbon securely

Unless it’s the HID Fargo DTC1500 with its built-in resin scramble, don’t forget to build the shredding of your card printer ribbon into your data protection plans.

Read more about the data you leave behind

Card Sample Packs now available – oh yeah!

Membership cards samplesNow you’d think that all printed plastic cards are the same, wouldn’t you?

Well they’re not.

The quality of print and materials can vary from supplier to supplier. And then there’s the vast array of finishes and features available, from spot UV varnish to foiling and metallic stripes. These can turn a good card project into a stunning card project – if you know what to ask for.

Try before you buy

We don’t expect you to take our word for it when we say we create great quality plastic cards.Loyalty cards samples

So if you’re thinking about ordering some plastic cards, we’ll happily send you out some samples of what to expect. You’ll get to physically hold and see the difference between matt and gloss finish; and to see for yourself the difference a bit of foiling or varnish can make.

Because a photograph just can’t convey that ‘ooh’, in the same way that a tactile print finish can.

We have samples of everything from Membership Cards to Loyalty Cards, Cloakroom Tags, Hotel Key Cards, 2-part snap-off cards, Key Tags and car park passes. And if you’re interested in a particular feature, like barcode, metallic stripe or QR code, or in a special finish, we can send examples of those too.

Cloakroom Tags samplesSimply email us at sales@thecardnetwork.co.uk or give us a call on 01244 526009 to give us an idea about your card project, and we’ll get our card samples on their merry way to you.

Oh, and one other thing. We manufacture all our printed plastic cards right here in the North West – we never outsource overseas. It’s the only way we can stay in control of the quality process.

 

 

Printing branded plastic cards? Make the back count

Rocksalt cloakroom tag

Whether you’re getting some membership cards, cloakroom tags, loyalty cards or key tags printed, don’t miss out on the branding opportunity presented on the back.

Most plastic card companies will print on the reverse of the card within the same quoted price, or for a bit extra.

So when you’re thinking about your design, here are a few ways to really make the back count.

Cloakroom Tags – branding, a disclaimer and even sponsorship Benares restaurant cloakroom cloakie tag

The back of your Cloakroom Tags is the perfect place for your disclaimer and Ts and Cs, but also for a message in your brand’s distinctive tone of voice, like Rocksalt’s “If you’ve got this ticket, we’ve still got your stuff.”

Atul Kochhar’s Benares Restaurant uses the back as a sponsorship opportunity – with Cobra taking pride of place. Perfect partnership.

Membership Cards – Fixture lists, sponsorship and member benefits

Rugby membership cardThere’s loads of ways to maximise the opportunity presented by the back of your membership cards. We have a number of clubs that print their fixtures on the reverse and others that promote other club facilities.

It’s also prime advertising space. Offer it up to the right sponsor, and you can Printed membership cardeasily cover the cost of the cards, and enhance your own brand image at the same time.  Think about relevant local partners or national brands that would be interested in the profile of your membership, or even brands that you sell internally that may want extra promotion (for example food or drink providers).

You can also use the back to remind members of the benefits or discounts available to them.

Hotel key card
Or just give a simple instruction!

Hotel key cards

There’s loads you can do here. Promote other services available in the hotel like your spa or restaurant, raise awareness of a special offer or give a discount on a repeat booking.

Carden park hotel key card
Include checkout times, useful numbers and other guest information

You could also use it to remind guests of useful numbers or opening/checkout or breakfast times, like Carden Park in Cheshire does for example.

Loyalty cards

Discounts, offers and text relating to the loyalty scheme are all ideally placed on the back so you don’t have to mess up the branding and design on the front. Put your social media buttons on there too.Printed loyalty cards

Or you could include a guest message encouraging card holders to call to book or pre-order for example, like Kemps Bistro in Liverpool have done here.

Bar tab cards

We’ve all got home after a night out to discover a bar tab card in our pocket. Which can mean only one thing – your bank card isn’t. A message on the back of the bar tab card is reassuring, and can be as fun as you like.

Basically, the back of a plastic card is up for grabs, and if you’re going to the expense of getting cards printed, it’s worth maximising the potential of both sides. You could of course include a QR code, signature strips or include blank panels that you can write members’ details or expiry dates on for example.

Why plastic key tags are our unsung heroes

Branded key tagsMeet our superhero, ‘Mr Adaptable’

They’re dinky. Handy. Always visible. Incredibly adaptable. And very cost-effective.

In our view, plastic key tags are mini super heroes, just minus the capes.

Branded key tags are one of the few plastic cards that can be used for multiple purposes: promotion, loyalty, labelling, information, discount offers, reference: the list goes on.

They’re also highly visible, rather than being hidden in a wallet. They happily dangle off a key ring, reminding the owner of their presence.

And at just £110 + VAT for 250 branded key tags printed in full colour on both sides, they super cost-effective.

Packing a mighty powerful punch for one so small

Branded key tags make great:

  1. Mini loyalty cardsBranded key tag

Add a barcode that works with your loyalty system and make sure your customer never loses out at the point of purchase. Tesco seem to have made it work quite successfully.

  1. Mini membership cards

Forgotten your main membership card? Just show your key tag instead, or save the budget and do away with main membership cards altogether.

  1. Promotional cards

    De Vere membership key tag
    Print key tags to go with your membership cards, or just do away with the cards altogether

Think of your key tags as mini billboards, there to advertise your next promotion or brand message. Use them to advertise your happy hours or special weekly theme nights, or remind customers of a regular monthly event. Or just use it as a branding opportunity.

  1. Discount cards

Remind customers that they can get a discount off their next purchase, on presentation of the key tag.

  1. Staff reference cards

Get key employee information on show, not hidden away in a handbook. Key tags make great reference cards because they’re always visible. Use them to remind staff of key health and safety information, employee standards or processes and procedures.

  1. Helpline reminders

Plastic key tags are easy ‘go to’ reference points for important numbers. If given to key holders for example, you could include telephone details of the alarm company. Or for lone workers, telephone numbers of head office support.

  1. Accommodation Key Holders

    Branded key tags holiday parks
    Leaving blank areas on the design gives you the flexibility to add your own names, numbers or details

We get a lot of orders from accommodation providers, particularly caravan parks and holiday lodge parks, because they’re a great way to add a brand or promo message to sets of keys that are given out to guests. Or leave a blank space to add individual accommodation numbers.

8. Key labels

If you store sets of keys in your office, like estate agents or property maintenance companies do, why not label them with your own branded key tags? They’ll convey a more professional image to your customers, and you can leave a space blank for handwriting your own details on.

One other thing – The Card Network offers free design and artwork on branded key tags.

 

Deck the halls with… printed plastic cards

What do you do with your used gift cards & old printed plastic cards?

We generally have a load of old printed plastic cards lying around (no surprise there).

There are only so many guitar picks we can make, especially given we don’t even play the guitar. And we already have an inexhaustible supply of ice scapers. So we’re always looking for new ways to recycle them.

printed plastic card wreath
Forget the Holly & the Ivy & upcycle instead

Here are a few different ways you can get crafty and put your old loyalty cards, gift cards or discount cards to good use.

1. Adorn your door with a festive loyalty card wreath

Definitely our favourite this one. We’ve started on ours, so we’ll let you know how it goes. But we doubt very much it will ever look as good as this by Lauren Venell.

2. Turn it into a lunch fork

Recycled plastic fork
Handy!

This clever fella came up with the idea of a pocket sized piece of disposable cutlery. Ta Dah! The credit card fork was born. Easy to carry and doesn’t cost you anything. Brilliant.

3. Create some stables for your nativity.

Get the kids involved in sticking together some of your old printed plastic cards to make miniature buildings – the cards make good walls and roofs.

We’ve had a lot of fun making sheds for the sheep, but you’ll note we’re not showing any photos. There’s a good reason for this.

recycled plastic card necklace
A gift for the woman who has everything?!

4. Make a necklace

It’s hard to believe that this necklace is made out of Starbucks gift cards, but it is. You’ll have to put some serious time and care into pulling this one off, but we reckon no-one would know what it’s made of when you’re done.

5. Bookmarks and paperclips

Bookmarks with a difference – good little stocking filler gifts. You can find some templates & how to do it here

printed plastic card plant marker
The ‘green’ green choice

6. Mini blackboard plant markers for the garden

Another great idea this. Get some blackboard paint and a plastic fork and hey presto, you’ve got some funky little plant markers. You’ll have to source a grease pencil though (whatever that is) as obviously chalk isn’t exactly weather proof.

If you’re looking for a few ideas that take a bit less time and effort, here are a few suggestions:

– Cut out some collar stays for your shirts

– Put them in your cutlery drawer – printed plastic cards are great for scraping up biscuit dough or pastry

– Give them to young kids to put in their purses and play pretend ‘shop’ with

– They make great art implements for kids – use them with paint and get them to scrape the paint along the paper

– Put them in the toolbox for the next DIY job, they’re perfect for smoothing on Polyfilla or scraping jobs.

Any other ideas? Have you created a full Noah’s ark out of last year’s gift cards? Please let us know. Oh, and send pics.

 

 

Out with the old…

If you’re about to order your new club cards for the 2014-2015 season, take a minute to really consider what you want them to do before just reprinting last years.

It’s likely they could be generating more value and be performing more functions than they currently do.

 

Club card
Refresh your look: don’t just roll out last season’s design

What would you like your club cards to do?   

By including a range of features, or changing the type of card you use, you can turn them into multi-purpose cards.

If you want to secure access to locker rooms or members-only areas for example, you can easily turn your club cards into ‘swipe to access’ cards.

Or you could turn them into ‘smart cards’, and allow members to use them to ‘swipe’ for their lunch, or access their tab at the bar.

Turning your club cards into loyalty cards encourages more spending from members. You’ll need to think carefully about how you’ll administer a loyalty programme, and how members will accrue and spend ‘points’. Do you want to offer money off purchases made in the club for example, or introduce other retailers to give your members more choice? As well as incorporating the necessary features to turn your club card into a loyalty card, we can also advise on the right loyalty system.

Think about your members. What do they want from a club?

Creating a successful membership programme is about:

–       Showing them you value their membership fee

–       Making them feel welcome when they’re with you

–       Providing them with benefits and perks for being a member

and

–       Giving them more reasons to spend time (and money) at the club

–       Handing them reasons to recommend you to others.

 Get the benefits right

Research your competition to see what they are offering, and better it.

Providing benefits to your members for their fee doesn’t have to cost you much – or indeed anything at all. It’s the feeling of exclusivity that you want to convey. Some perks might include:

–       Free entry to club events

–       Discounted tickets for family members

–       First priority on club tickets

–       Deals with neighbouring retailers, hotels & restaurants just for club members (make these reciprocal so there are no costs involved)

–       Discounts on their own membership fee if they refer-a-friend.

Offering discounts on club food and drink is perceived as a tangible (and very attractive) benefit. You’ll need to weigh up the cost versus the benefit, but it’s likely that it will encourage members who may not normally use the facilities to give them a try. Providing vouchers for members to hand to friends and family is a win-win situation: they feel like they’re getting ‘something for nothing’ whereas you get new customers into the club.

Don’t forget that it’s the simple things that make people feel special. Welcoming a guest by name when they show a membership card is easy to do, and makes a great impression. Especially if they’re with friends.

We offer numbering as standard  

All our club cards are full colour, double sided numbered cards. You can also choose from a range of extra features, such as signature panels or barcodes. Or why not include a QR code to unlock a members-only benefit on your website? 

Refresh, refresh, refresh

Even if you don’t need any new features, or don’t want your club cards to do anything particularly clever, refreshing the design is always a good idea. Don’t use the same design again just because you don’t have someone who can create a new one for you.

Design and artwork is included in all of our quoted prices, so why not ask us to renew the look of the club cards for you.

Our friendly team is happy to advise on the many features of membership cards. Call us on 0844 257 8857 or email sales@thecardnetwork.co.uk

 

 

Spas: theme your printed gift cards for Mother’s Day

If you’re a spa or beauty salon, Mother’s Day is one of the biggest events in the calendar. Spa vouchers or printed gift cards are one of the most popular gifts for mums and grandmas on Mothering Sunday (especially for those who ‘have everything’).

Theme your printed gift cards for Mother’s Day

Rather than giving out a standard card, why not create special Mother’s Day printed gift cards instead? We know they’re well received by mum and the buyer alike – and they’ll be a great advertisement or reminder sitting in your spa window or reception desk.

Customised printed gift cards is easy to do with your own card printer

A plastic card printer is a worthwhile investment if you want to customise your own printed gift cards cards and print them in-house. They aren’t as expensive as they used to be, and for organisations that regularly have a need for plastic cards, the investment quickly pays for itself when compared to using a card bureau (i.e. a provider that prints the cards for you.)

Many spas have a membership programme or loyalty scheme, and so have an on-going need for membership cards or loyalty cards as well as printed gift cards – all of which can be printed using a card printer.

If you’re part of a Hotel or entertainment complex, the printer can also be used to print promotional messages on the back of hotel key cards, or even on staff ID badges.

Which printer?

The printer you choose will depend on the volume of cards you need, and frequency.

For most organisations looking for an entry-level printer that doesn’t need to do anything too clever, or act as a workhorse, the Evolis Badgy fits the bill.

The Badgy is a complete and quick card printer designed to ‘plug in and print’. It’s incredibly easy to use and comes with all the software you need to custom design your own cards. You’ll even find some Mother’s Day templates ready for you to personalise your printed gift cards here. The Badgy is on sale for £585.38, including one year’s warranty.

Mother’s Day falls on Sunday 30th March this year. Don’t forget.

Future hotels: more personal or sold as commodities?

Do hotels need to focus more on offering a personalised service to secure guest bookings in the future, or is the shift more to selling a ‘bed in a box’?

Hotel loyalty cards
Hotel room or commodity?

A recent report from the InterContinental Hotel Group says that post-recession, hotels must focus on offering an individual service to guests in order to be rewarded with their loyalty.

The results of the report are based on a survey of around 7,000 international business and leisure travellers, plus interviews with travel experts. It argues that the advent of personal technology and the concept of ‘always with me’ devices has created a demand for service that is tailored to their individual preferences.

What that personalisation should be varies depending on nationality. UK travellers value the ‘little touches’ in their rooms for example, whereas Americans regard choosing their exact check-out time as more important.

Hang on, just where are they going to get this information?

The sceptics among us are likely to respond that this is just another way for establishments to justify gleaning information about our consumer habits through ‘spying’.

Does this mean hotels will be researching us on Facebook and Twitter after we book? Will they take it from Aunt Bessie’s birthday party photographs on Flickr that I have a particular weakness for chocolate cake? Surely this is just a bit creepy.

Of course hotel loyalty cards can do a lot to record guest preferences, but they can only do so much. And you have to get the guest to sign up in the first place.

But if more hotels are becoming commodities, do we need to be worried?

At the recent Master Innholders GM Conference 2014 in London, the great and the good of the Hotel world debated whether hotels are being increasingly viewed as commodities.

The rise in popularity of OTA’s (Online Travel Agents), flash sales and price-driven discount sites means that guests’ perceptions of hotels’ value and services are changing.

Mark Lewis, managing director of Hotel Rez, commented: “Working with the likes of Groupon is a strategic decision but it does lead to commoditisation of your property and quickly leads to dilution of margins.

Stuart Johnson of Browns followed with: “We have to be very careful at the luxury end. Now at the three-and four-star level, we certainly are seeing commoditisation, especially in fast-moving hotel companies in which the guest basically gets a box and then seemingly has to buy soap, towels, Wi-Fi, service and so on.”

If this is the future for the hotel industry, do we need to be worried about our personal data?

Horses for courses

As is the case with many things in this world, it will depend on the hotel you choose, and the kind of experience you’re after. You wouldn’t find a boutique 5-star hotel charging you to use their soap (or you’d hope not). Nor is a 3-star city centre chain hotel likely to hand you a bottle of your favourite red wine on a repeat visit.

It’s likely that we’ll see a growth on both sides of the coin. You’ll just need to decide which side you’re on in a particular weekend.

Oh, and make sure you review your Facebook settings, just in case.

Read more about the debate ‘Are hotels commodities?’ here.

Introducing our membership cards ‘mini-me’

They say ‘small is beautiful’, and who are we to argue. We’ve just brought out a range of membership cards and loyalty cards that come with a replica key tag for your customers to attach to their key ring.

It means they’re never without their membership cards, even if they don’t have their wallet to hand.

membership cards and key tag
The key tag easily snaps off to be affixed to a key ring

Our cards are rather attached to their ‘mini-me’.

Literally.

We can now supply your membership cards or loyalty cards with the key tag attached. It’s then easily snapped off. It’s a much easier solution than separate cards, is more cost effective and easier to mail. Feedback also tells us that they’re well received by customers.

The next time you’re ordering membership cards or loyalty cards, think about the benefits of key tags. For just a small extra fee, you can ensure your customers carry your cards around with them at all times. And what’s more – key tags keep your brand name visible, rather than hidden away in a pocket or purse.

250 double-sided full colour cards with snap-off key tags start from just £192.75