Into the Blue

IntotheBlue: Integrated Payment Processing

Into the Blue

Into the Blue chooses MasterCard Payment Gateway Services to deliver a single, resilient global payment processing solution to reduce downtime and increase revenues.

"MasterCard Payment Gateway Services was able to deliver a single integrate payment processing solution that meets the needs of our fast growing business. Customers have come to expect a consistent and rewarding online experience and so this partnership builds in the kind of resilience our customers expect. MasterCard Payment Gateway Services also enables us to innovate around new channels and alternative paymet methods to make purchasing from us quick and easy" Rob Holmes, eCommerce & Marketing Manager, Into the Blue


Into the Blue is one of the UK's best known experience gifting companies. The company started life in 1996 as Air Activity Gift Vouchers, an off-shoot of Air Displays International Ltd. offering flying experiences to enthusiasts attending the world famous Biggin Hill Air Fair.

The idea behind Air Activity Gift Vouchers was simple. Every year, over 60,000 spectators would attend the Air Fair and it was soon realised that many of these fans of flying would actually like to 'have a go' themselves. Working closely with established aviation contacts, a range of nationwide air-based experiences were offered for sale.

Following the company's initial success, in 1998 Into the Blue was established - designed to extend the company's current offering but, more importantly, to enable the creation of new products and services such as white water rafting and car racing. Since then, the range of activities has steadily increased and the company now boasts in excess of 2000 experiences and is witnessing steady growth year on year.

The Challenge

When the company started trading, experiences were marketed by mail order, with all orders being received and processed by post. This worked perfectly in the company's initial phase but increasing demand meant Into the Blue needed to find a smarter approach.

In 2000, Into the Blue, created its first website and was, for the first time, able to drive sales via the internet. Orders, at this stage, were taken via telephone but, as the company grew, this became costly and customers could sometimes find lines would be busy, particularly around busy gifting periods such as Christmas and Valentine's Day. A more powerful solution was required and in 2005, Into the Blue became an eCommerce company.

The technology Into the Blue implemented served to enable online sales and basic payment fulfilment but the service and user experience did not meet requirement as they experienced a number of serious outages during particularly busy periods.

"Christmas, Father's Day and Valentine's Day are amongst the busiest times of the year for us as many people like to buy our experiences as gifts for loved ones. Christmas is our peak season, and before implementing MasterCard Payment Gateway Services, our systems would sometimes fail as a result of sheer volume of visitors" Rob Holmes, eCommerce & Marketing Manager, Into the Blue

At one point, Into the Blue estimated it was losing 10,000 in sales per day as a result of system failure. They were looking for a solution that would address four key challenges:

  • Ease server strain
  • Lock down security
  • Improve up-time
  • Introduce robust reporting

The Solution

The company started looking at some of its competitors' strategies and became aware of MasterCard Payment Gateway Services as a company that could help Into the Blue protect and grow its revenues into the future. After a rigorous selection process, four companies were shortlisted and, during a BT outage, MasterCard Payment Gateway Services was the only company to remain operational - which proved conclusive for Into the Blue.

MasterCard Payment Gateway Services was able to offer Into the Blue a fully integrated, hosted pages solution which has given back control to the company to focus attention on other aspects of the business.

The solution, designed to address Into the Blue's specific needs, was completed in just 1 month - an extremely fast deployment time. MasterCard Payment Gateway Services's payment processing solution has transformed the company's ability to manage its server infrastructure and has created a completely reliable payments service that can easily deal with high traffic volume, whilst allowing the company to develop its multi-channel strategy.

MasterCard Payment Gateway Services hosted payment processing technology offers a host of benefits for businesses looking to expand and sustain their payment capabilities, improve end user experience and build in scalability so that the solution can grow as the company grows. MasterCard Payment Gateway Services's hosted solutions offers outstanding real-time processing speeds with average authorisation response times typically below two seconds. It supports a wide range of multiple card types, supports multiple currencies and multiple acquiring bank connections.

Finally, scalability and security are at the heart of Into the Blue's priorities. The company's new payment processing solution offers a highly flexible and tailored approach to fraud management which means legitimate business isn't turned away - as is often the case with off-the-shelf solutions.


Compared to the company's previous payment methodology, Into the Blue has experienced almost no downtime - even in busy periods - which has increased daily sales and overall revenues.

"MasterCard Payment Gateway Services brought us the reliability and resilience that we needed to be able to cater to a highly seasonal customer. We can now offer the same consistent quality of experience and service all year round and we've seen teh results positively impact our bottom line"

MasterCard Payment Gateway Services's highly flexible fraud management solution has also enabled Into the Blue to tailor screening rules to reduce the likelihood of legitimate business being turned away:

"Our increased revenues are testimony to the success of the project but what's making a real difference is the control the technology has given in managing customer sales. Often, off-the-shelf solutions penalise legitimate customers because, for example, the recipient's address does not match the purchasers' details. For gifting companies like ours, this is a common scenario. We needed a solution that would allow us to change the rules to allow this kind of customer. Gatekeeper provided this flexibility. As a result charge-backs have been reduced to almost nothing."

This increased control has enabled the team to focus on the things that are most important. MasterCard Payment Gateway Services's payment processing solution has automated much of the process so that workload has reduced, allowing the company to focus on more on the future. Now, the company has aspirations to develop its own mobile commerce presence which will allow Into the Blue to capitalise on the boom in multi-channel commerce opportunities.




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