How to ensure your gift vouchers are working to maximum effect

gift vouchers

[Credit: Freepik]

Jonathan Lee, product manager at Guestline, provides advice for hoteliers to ensure their gift voucher schemes are working as effectively and efficiently as possible.

Gift vouchers are well established and well recognised as an effective way to drive revenue and enhance the guest experience and guest loyalty. Vouchers purchased for a friend or relative provide a valuable and direct route to wider guest acquisition and retention, and likewise a direct route to driving upsell and ancillary revenue before, during and after their stay.  

Implementing a gift voucher scheme and platform is a valuable way to increase your revenue and enhance the guest experience. However, to ensure you are utilising it to maximum effect, there are first some important operational foundations you need to put in place so that any investment reaps maximum return. 

1. Integration. Be sure that any gift voucher system you implement integrates effectively with your property management system (PMS) and point of sale (POS). This can ensure accurate, real-time visibility and reporting of sales and redemptions. It is also critical in preventing duplicate redemptions or misuse of vouchers and the risk of fraud, as well as delivering an accurate and efficient reconciliation of any transactions.

Where there is a disconnect between the gift voucher platform and the PMS or POS, operators run a real revenue risk whereby vouchers can be mistakenly redeemed, not redeemed in time or used more than once. Greater integration gives more control over voucher ledgers and their sale. For example, the number of sales for a certain experience can be limited more effectively, and likewise controlled for certain locations for larger groups, as needed. In addition, ensure your voucher system automatically manages any reconciliation to again save time, reduce errors and give staff more time to focus on the guest during their stay to build that all-important relationship and drive additional upsell opportunities. 

2. VAT compliance. Choose a platform that automates VAT management processes to ensure all sales and transactions are compliant with VAT regulations. As with the PMS and POS integration, this can ensure your financial operations are more streamlined and run more efficiently, reducing the risk of error and ensuring live, accurate tax and accounts reporting. 

3. Branding and marketing. Many gift voucher platforms now available can be ‘white-labelled’, i.e. designed in line with your own hotel branding, imagery and logos to ensure a consistent brand image and guest experience from the moment of browsing and purchase and/or booking. If you are going to build a dedicated page on the website for your gift vouchers, ensure it sets the right tone by reflecting and reinforcing your brand and is also easy to navigate for a positive, guest-friendly experience.

Keep in mind that, frequently your gift vouchers are functioning as your shop window, so they need to present a professional, accurate image of your hotel and your brand. Once you have a gift voucher system and platform that is designed appropriately you can use it to support any wider marketing campaigns to further increase your brand exposure and attract new guests who might not have considered your property previously. 

4. Accessibility. In line with branding, ensure it is easy and accessible for guests to search for and purchase gift vouchers, whether for stays, spa or other experiences you have available. When designing and building, make sure it is accessible on both desktop and mobile devices to enable you to broaden your customer and therefore your guest and revenue bases. 

5. Build guest preferences and data. Throughout the booking process, the duration of a customer’s stay and post-departure, you have the opportunity to engage with the purchaser and their guest and make the most of those valuable opportunities to learn more about them and their preferences. This data can then be invaluable for more personalised and accurate future marketing and guest communications to drive future bookings and guest loyalty. Be sure you are capturing guest preferences at every possible stage so that you can also capture opportunities for revenue via tailored experiences, improved guest experience and satisfaction and the opportunity for future bookings. 

Keeping a keen eye on the wider operational requirements and functionality of your gift voucher platform and systems in the present will unquestionably work to deliver increased revenues, guest loyalty and more effective marketing strategies in the short, medium and long term. 

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