Rev up Occupancy and Revenue with Gift Cards

February 14th, 2019 Lisa Livingston Hospitality Trends, Latest News, Marketing

As a hotelier, your goal is to offer unique experiences to your guests, so it makes sense to offer gift cards so your guests can experience all there is to do around your property.  Gift cards are easy to set up, easy to maintain, and can encompass a full getaway weekend, or additional discounts in your hotel’s restaurant or spa. Guests can purchase gift cards online, in person, or over the phone. In fact, promoting gift cards is the ideal way to maximize revenues for your property and emphasize the activities around your property. Gift cards create a story for your guests through promoting the characteristics that stand out. Let’s look at some of the advantages of offering gift cards to you as the hotelier, and to your guests. 

Property Advantages:  

Gift cards allow you to increase the visibility of your property.  By showcasing your property and the activities around your property with gift cards, you gain the loyalty of your existing guests, and capture the attention of future guests. There is nothing more rewarding than a brand-new guest coming to stay at your property and having a gift card in hand from a former guest who thought so much about the hospitality you provided they gave a weekend retreat as a gift.  

Gift cards can be an automated process for your property.  If you think about it, gift cards are just another method of payment you offer to your guests.  When establishing a gift card system for your property make sure that guests can redeem their gift certificates on the booking engine, onsite, or at your restaurant/bar or spa.  

Gift cards increase your brand awareness.  When designing your gift cards, show off your best views, or provide your guests with a list of the activities that are available onsite.  By showcasing your property and activities around your property you are essentially creating a marketing strategy that will increase your advertising without allocating funds to an advertising budget. In addition, you’ll likely reach guests who may not have heard of your property previously. 

There are some powerful side benefits of utilizing gift cards. Obviously, the goal is to have guests use the gift cards around the property to increase their loyalty and refer other guests. However, even if the gift cards don’t get used, you have already collected the cash up front, and you will see an increase in cash flow.  Plus, your brand received a free marketing boost. According to a recent article on Gift Card Statistics (www.giftcardgranny.com ) nearly $1 Billion in gift cards go unused every year.

Guest Advantages:  

Gift cards don’t have any restrictions other than their expiration dates. Guests can use gift cards anytime between the time they receive them and the expiration date allowing them to choose between spending their gift card on hotel charges, activities, or in your restaurant.  

Gift cards are easily used. Since gift cards can travel with guests back to their homes, they are easily packed and transportable. In addition, gift cards can be personalized for the recipient. By allowing guests to purchase customized monetary increments you are empowering the guest to spend more at your property.  Additionally, as I mentioned earlier like InnQuest’s WebBook, most hotel systems, allow the recipient to use the gift card as online payment during the online reservation process.

How to Get Started:  

Before designing and implementing your gift card program, you’ll want to outline exactly what you’re looking for by adopting a gift card program. Create a list of all items onsite where a gift card would be appropriate.  Then, create a unique gift card for each of these services. Further, you can look at creating customized package gift cards that include lodging, spa, restaurant, and activity for guests that are not traveling on business. Try to put together packages where the service compliment one another such as; a romantic weekend with couples’ massage and dinner, or SCUBA weekend with lodging, lunch, boat fee and SCUBA gear.  By creating unique packages for your guests, it takes the planning off their plate, and increases your revenue upfront.  

Wrapping Up: 

Now you know some of the advantages to both you and your guests for implementing a gift card program.  Get ready to start selling those gift cards.  If you’d like more information on roomMaster’s Gift Card program, speak with one of our Account Managers today.