Gift voucher sales strategies for your hotel

In the hotel and leisure sector gift voucher sales are big business, making up a significant proportion of overall sales. Hotels can sell gift vouchers across the full range of products and services they offer, from luxury weekend breaks, to spa days, restaurant dining and leisure facilities.

Having an established strategy for your voucher sales is vital to ensure you’re making the most of your businesses opportunity to develop a steady revenue flow. Vouchers are the single most profitable commodity your business can sell; period. Some 15-20% of vouchers on average are never redeemed at all, and you get paid, IN FULL and IN ADVANCE.

In this article we’ll take a look at what separates the best and the worst performing hotels and how you can quickly and easily develop a high performance strategy you can repeat annually with little or no effort, using automation. Then simply tweak/fine-tune it as you go to deliver solid growth.

How does your existing voucher sales strategy stack-up?

Before we jump in, take a look at the voucher sales revenue performance chart below to assess your hotels likely position. This will give you a sense of where you are on the performance scale. Next we’ll break it down into a few simple planning steps so you can quickly assemble a high-performance strategy you can execute easily and deliver hands-free sales for your business year-round.

Hotel gift voucher sale strategy graph illustrating comparative sales achieved through differing strategies.

Hotel A: Basic monetary voucher sales strategy

Hotel A sell monetary gift vouchers in-house and on their website. These are not promoted or marketed so any sales achieved are incidental purchases made by website visitors. Their strategy is weak and reflected in sales achieved.

Hotel B: Monetary + experience voucher sales strategy

Hotel B have a similar strategy to A but in addition to simple monetary vouchers also sell Restaurant and Accommodation specific vouchers thoughtfully packaged to appeal to their buyers via their website in a traditional ecommerce checkout. Promotion of their vouchers is only conducted as part of a wider website marketing strategy. There is no voucher promotion strategy to speak of.

Hotel C: Monetary + experience voucher sales + basic promotion

Hotel C provides the option for it’s website visitors to purchase monetary and experience vouchers. The experience vouchers are promoted via email and via web marketing seasonally in advance of peak sales windows such as Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day and Christmas. The voucher purchase process is basic but functional telling the user what they are buying in a traditional ecommerce checkout process.

Hotel D: Monetary + categorised experiences + events + automated multi-channel promotion

Hotels D takes their voucher sales seriously with well thought out packaged offers tailored to their customers needs all-year-round with seasonal offers to entice buyers. Each voucher is pre-scheduled to promote automatically at peak sales times specific to Christmas, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Winter, Spring, Summer and Autumn via Facebook, Twitter and email to ensure exposure of their vouchers to the maximum possible audience and at exactly the right times.

The Best Strategy for your Hotel

Before we discuss how to fine-tune your strategy for your Hotel and your target market, let’s take a look at what separates these strategies.

Depending on your market sector and position in the marketplace you may or may not wish to offer deals or discounts. For those hotels who do,  a wealth of additional strategies are open to you around either offering added value (something extra the customer would not ordinarily receive when buying outside of the voucher sale) or offering discount.

What separates hotels A and D in the results we see is creativity (in considering what appeals to the buyer and packaging what the hotel has to offer), planning and organisation (setting out promotion schedules for vouchers for all-year-round vouchers and seasonal vouchers),  and automation (automating the promotion and sale of these).

Hotel A are doing the bear minimum.  Enough to say “Yes you can buy a voucher here!” and allow the buyer to do that. Sales are passively received from buyers who either ask or happen-upon the webpage on the hotel’s website where these are for sale in their basic form.

Hotel D are driving their sales through all their sales channels (particularly social media) with creative and enticing offerings for their buyers. The vouchers are relevant to the seasonal needs for the buyer specific to Valentine’s Day, Christmas, Mother’s Day, Easter and more. They put their beautifully presented vouchers in-front of the buyers at the right times when peak sales occur using automation of their promotions to Facebook, Twitter and email. Their vouchers have images, clear descriptions and the process for the buyer is modern, sleek and creative. In short, they are ever-present in the market, and looking good while they’re at it.

Irrespective of where on this spectrum your hotel business lies, just follow the steps below to establish what you can sell, when and how you can package these to make them attractive to your buyers.

Step 1: Arrange a Management meeting to specifically address voucherizing what you offer.

Ask yourself the question: Are we making the most revenue possible from our hotel products/services, and more specifically are we making the most of the how and when we promote them?

  • List all hotel products/services you can voucherize: (eg. Rooms, Dinner, Lunch, Spa, Golf, Tennis Coaching, Events, Music, Other)
  • Create at least one voucher for each product/service. Set yourself the goal of creating at least one voucher (offer or otherwise) for each product/service you offer.
  • Look at which of your hotel’s products and services work well combined together as a packaged voucher or EXPERIENCE. Experiences sell well because people are often simply seeking a fun and interesting alternative or new experience to fill their day. In particular when it comes to Birthday or Christmas gifts this makes the decision easy for the buyer of a gift for someone special. (eg. Romantic Dinner + Room, Tennis Coaching + Relaxing Spa, Lunch + Spa, Comedy Show + Dinner etc) Take a step back from your all you offer and consider what works well together as an experience for your buyers. People like experiences and being pampered. They remember them and they talk about them to others. More importantly they sell.
  • Make sure you create an offer for each of the priority sales windows in the calendar year. These are Christmas, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day

Step 2: Establish and agree your promotion schedule.

The important point here is that the better you do this part, the more you will sell and with the least amount of effort. Better yet, all you need to do each year is adjust what you offer to accommodate small pricing or product/service changes. Your vouchers are created and your promotion schedule is already mapped and in place.

Look at each sales window and decide which of your vouchers to promote during these peak buying times. VoucherCart allows you to set exactly the days and times each voucher is posted or tweeted to Facebook and Twitter.

For example:

Voucher 1: Valentine’s Day Special: Romantic CandlelitDinner for 2 on the Terrace with Complimentary bottle of Bubbly

Schedule 1 (Facebook): Post to Facebook on Mon, Wed and Sat every week at 6pm for 3 weeks ending promotion on 14th February

Schedule 1 (Twitter): Tweet this voucher on Tues, Thurs and Sun every week at 11.30am for 3 weeks ending on 14th February.

Repeat this process for all of your sales windows like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Thanksgiving, Easter, St Partick’s Day,Christmas Events, New Years Events and more.

Step 3: Get ready to start selling!

So now you know what you will sell and when. Great!  Now just create your vouchers and set the promotion dates for each. You’re done! Until next year:)

VoucherCart provide full support and assistance for hotels in this set-up, so if you’re a VoucherCart sales engine user you should have no problems here. If not then check us out and sign-up for a trial of the platform.

For more help and advice on voucherizing your products/services and selling vouchers effectively, contact VoucherCart on 00 +44 (0)131 608 0008 or just visit