It’s been nearly three months since hotels in the UK have closed, in line with government guidance to minimise the spread of the coronavirus. Recent weeks and months have been and will continue to be incredibly challenging as hotels continue to navigate this dynamic environment, put in steps in place to reopen safely, continue to nurture relationships with their customers and build revenue.
When hotels closed their doors in March, their incomings ground to a halt, and some hotels responded in both creative and touching ways, such as by offering delivery & takeaway and/or by opening their doors to NHS staff, so they could be closer to their workplace.
There was and continues to be a revenue stream open to hotels, that enables them to receive revenue now, for experiences to be enjoyed by customers in the future – gift vouchers: both as ‘gifts’ and as ‘offers’ for personal use (or as a gift too)!
ALL ABOUT GIFT VOUCHERS
SK Chase works within the hospitality sector, where we work together with over 300 luxury hotels & resorts, providing the software and service that enables them to successfully sell their gift ‘experiences’ online, in addition to any voucher ‘offers’ they’d like to run.
In March, when the pandemic exploded into our lives, everything changed. But what became clear to us was two things:
- People still had a desire to purchase gifts – for many different reasons , such as birthdays, anniversaries, to express thanks, to lift the spirits of those they couldn’t see, and so on and they were particularly drawn towards gifts that could be purchased online, with safe delivery.
- People loved the idea of having something to look forward to that they could enjoy in the future.
Whilst hotels were closed, we supported and encouraged our clients to continue to sensitively market their gift vouchers, offering their customers helpful & hopeful gifting solutions, adapting their gift voucher offering, message and gift voucher validity as needed to meet the moment.
Whilst gift voucher revenue has undoubtedly been impacted (total sales across our 300+ clients for April and May was down 60% on last year) with creative and sensitive marketing, hotels can continue to nurture and delight their customers with their gift voucher offering and create cashflow.
Let’s look at two hotels in Scotland who have responded to this period and adapted accordingly, reversing the trend of downward sales.: The Bonham Hotel – a 5-star boutique hotel in Edinburgh and Loch Melfort Hotel, a unique retreat set on the coast of Argyll in the Scottish Highlands.
‘During the Covid-19 pandemic and sudden drop of income for the hospitality industry, gift vouchers offered a little light at the end of the tunnel. They generated a modest amount of revenue compared with normal operations, but every little helps, especially in such a crisis. The campaigns enabled us to offer something for guests to look forward to and we were delighted with the results.’
Unexpected things are always going to happen in business and in life and often the only control we have is how we choose to respond to them. As a sector, we all have a common purpose – to find our way and navigate this together.