The Hotel business has its ups and downs. During low seasons and in force-majeure cases, like the 2020 pandemic crisis, it’s crucial to maintain the money flow. The future is vague, plans and regulations might change, but guests’ desire to stay in your hotel can stay intact. One of the possible solutions is to sell bookings to indefinite dates in the future.
Now, how can you do that? Sell vouchers with an open arrival date. You will get additional resources, and your devoted guests will get generous discounts and an option to choose the date to visit that suits them.
And we’ve already taken care of the technical side of this process—it’s available to hoteliers who use TravelLine Booking Engine.
Money & service vouchers
There are two types of vouchers. The first one is a money voucher (e.g., $1,000). Guests can purchase this voucher with a discount that you set. For example, if you set a 50% discount, guests can purchase it for just $500 now, and later, when they’re ready, they can have the time of their life.
Another type is a fixed service voucher. You can create a package for two nights with room service, breakfast, lunch and other additional services — no matter their price in the future. Point out all the benefits and the price difference to your guests to induce them to get it asap.
How vouchers work
This is how you can provide an option to book a room with an open date:
- Create a voucher with suitable conditions. For example, a coupon for a certain amount of money or a package for a certain number of nights.
- Set an expiration date. For example, for the end of this year on December 31, 2020.
- A guest purchases a voucher, and the money gets transferred to you right away.
- The guest calls on the voucher as soon as they decide with the date.
For whom vouchers work the best
Not every business suits the voucher sale model. In our experience, vouchers work the most efficiently for hotels that are:
- Located in tourist areas and cities.
- Mid or high price category.
- Ready to provide 30-50% discount for future bookings and services.
Set a 30% discount or more
We recommend that you make three vouchers for three different values. For example, $150, $500 and $900. Make the middle one close to an average check. The best practice to motivate guests purchasing vouchers is to make a tangible discount. For example, 50%. Be generous, it’s hard not just for your business but for everybody.
How to sell vouchers
It’s not enough to only start out the voucher sale but you also need to provide your guests with an incentive to purchase them. Point out the money they’ll save for the future. Also, you can be honest and tell that these vouchers will help your business get through the dark times.
Use all possible channels to promote your voucher campaign, or simply choose the channels that already work for your hotel the best. For example:
- Google Ads and Google Adwords
- Social networks
- Email newsletters
- Promo-banners on your and your partners’ websites
Now, let’s go into details on how to boost your voucher sale campaign.
Share on social networks
Tell about vouchers in your business accounts on Facebook and other social networks. You can pin these posts so they’re always on top.
We have already taken care of a few text templates with pictures that you can use in your posts. Feel free to modify and use them as you like! Don’t forget about stories on Instagram (and other networks) because they provide a good coverage of your promo actions and news.
Shoot out emails
It’s a no-brainer that you need to inform your existing customers and previous visitors with the cheapest and the less laborious solution: an email campaign. Use your CRM’s mailing engine or service of your choice (e.g., MailChimp) to reach out to your guests. If you do not have a CRM yet, well, it’s the right time to start using one! Start adding your guests to the database now, because there might not be the second chance.
Create a landing page with vouchers
First, configure vouchers in the TravelLine system, and describe terms and conditions. We will help you create the landing page.
Add a banner and a widget on your website
Add a banner that’s hard to miss on your website. It can be a notification banner at the top that doesn’t distract but informs about the most important things, like upcoming site maintenance, etc.
Add a widget that leads to the voucher sale page, and we can help you set it up. Guests will see this widget on all pages of the site. Here's what it’ll look like:
Release a dedicated post in your blog (or a newsfeed). It can provide more details and be a good addition to the landing page.
Google Ads and others
Advertise your vouchers to people who may have visited your website and didn’t book or who stayed in your hotel once and didn’t leave details. These parameters can be configured in Google Ads and it’ll reduce the target audience and the Price Per Click value.
Also, you can utilize other paid ad services, like Facebook, Yahoo, etc.
That’s it! Now, you’re ready to max out the cash flow from selling vouchers and make your hotel a more sustainable business in these hard times.
Inform your staff and the booking department
If guests are contacting your hotel directly and they’re in doubt about their stay due to some circumstances, the sales team can offer them a voucher with open check-in dates personally. If they agree with that, you’ll receive the money right away, and guests will come when they decide on the dates.