UK: A new service has launched hoping to help many local hospitality businesses survive the global pandemic.
Local Support Vouchers allows users to pre-purchase items and services from local business to help support them during this difficult time.
The idea came from CEO Chris Giddens, whose voucher tech program Vocodo was struggling due to its focus on the travel industry. The company decided to offer its tech to help those local businesses connect with regulars.
Giddens said: “The early days of this crisis saw many of us encouraged to ‘buy vouchers’ for the businesses we knew to be struggling. But for most independent shops or restaurants, it’s not that simple.
“Setting up the processes and payment systems for vouchers is actually quite technical; beyond the current capabilities of most small businesses who have a lot to deal with right now.”
At the moment, any UK business can sign up for free, and provide gift vouchers for future purchase. There is also currently a default option of donating vouchers to local NHS staff, to be redeemed when businesses re-open fully.
The company sends most of the money back to the businesses, charging a 3 per cent service charge for site costs.
Many who are already using the platform have notes its success, especially those in the hotel sector. Businesses have been offering stays, as well as spa treatments, to be redeemed at a later date.
Jo Hildon, managing director of White Heron properties said: “We’ve actually had a lot of loyal customers enquiring about vouchers, which has been lovely, but we simply haven’t got the infrastructure in place to make it happen, especially given how much else has been going on.”
Many businesses have taken to supporting NHS ventures during lockdown. Farncombe Estate has set up an NHS reward programme, and The Mandeville has partnered with Smarter Giving to support care workers and locals.
For more information, check out Local Support Vouchers’ website.