Last updated: 10:05, 25th March 2020
Looking at figures for both Feb and March, we have seen a very small decline in gift voucher sales (when comparing YOY results and trends since 2016), but not the steep decline that online bookings for rooms, tables and spas are experiencing. This is because when it comes to gift giving and buying for loved ones, people still want to give generously, show thoughtfulness and treat others to something to look forward to. With Mother's Day just gone and Father's Day and wedding season fast approaching, it's likely that gift giving in its traditional form will continue (with minimal impact). However, at a time when people are not booking dates or planning trips away, now is the time to use Gifted for more than just the traditional gift exchanges. Gift voucher sales are a great way of generating revenue for hotels at a time when a lot of people are not travelling and are uncertain/don’t want to be locked down to specific dates for stays and trips.
- Gift hope - For those who are a bit lonely right now or isolated, give them something to forward to. A gift voucher is a perfect way to let someone know that you are thinking of them, even at a time of isolation when visits are permitted. So why not encourage guests to buy a gift or experience the whole family can enjoy? Try creating a new offering ahead of Father's Day and the wedding season with ‘family lunches’ or ‘dinner with loved ones’.
- Refunds - Why not turn cancellations into complimentary upgrades by offering a voucher to replace their booking, including complimentary add ons for when they rebook? Instead of issuing refunds, issue complimentary vouchers for their stay that can then be used towards a future booking. Or do one better and offer a replacement voucher that includes the cost of their stay and added extras like an arrival drink.
- Cancellation policies - Thinking of changing your cancellation policies in line with the recent global outbreak? You’re not alone. But instead of issuing full refunds, or informing guests their booking cannot be moved, why not change the cancellation policies themselves and state that a replacement voucher will be issued in its place, of which is valid for 12 or 18 months? This will give you security at this time, as well as allowing your guests to enjoy flexibility.
- Online cookery classes - If you have a cookery school, why not use the ‘events’ section of Gifted and sell tickets (or offer free tickets) to an online cookery class with your chosen chefs? With more and more people forced to stay behind closed doors, why not give them something fun and informative to join in with? Get the whole family involved by asking the kids to join in.
- Self isolation - People are still able to give gifts as they can have vouchers sent directly to recipients' homes, even if they are self-isolating. Or, even better, send them a gift via email to avoid the need for deliveries.
- Accommodation - Hotels are seeing trends where bookings for their accommodation are slowing. Gifted can be used as part of a campaign to fill the gap that is appearing with accommodation bookings. By offering vouchers for rooms that don’t have to be used by a specific date (buy now, stay later), many of our clients have already seen an increase in sales over the last few days.
- Voucher extensions - For the first time, you’ll find guests not able to get to you to enjoy an arranged experience (such as afternoon tea) due to social distancing, so you will need to look at voucher extensions in more detail - from extending vouchers already out there with guests, to changing validity periods on the Gifted site for future sales. Making changes like this will also show how much you are thinking of your guests and how to help them.