Pay now, book later: how vouchers could help tourism businesses monetise

In 2020 hotels recorded very low occupancy rates at a global scale, while tourist enterprises providing tours and activities as well as restaurants did not find business continuity. 

Although the outlook is positive due to the ongoing vaccination campaign and the spring season coming, the market still doesn’t show clear signs of recovery; as a consequence, all tourist businesses are still facing economic and financial issues. 

However, people wish to start travelling very soon and, also for this reason, there are many cases where vouchers allowed tourism businesses to get revenue, monetise and increase customer loyalty through purchase on the direct channels. 

A first example is given by the so called “Monetary Vouchers”– where the model Buy One, Get One Free can be promoted in special occasions like Valentine’s Day or a birthday. 

Other vouchers can be linked to festive seasons or to bank holidays and, according to Google, 75% of holiday shoppers in the US and 71% in the UK will purchase holiday vouchers online more than previous years. We were all expecting this trend, that provides the opportunity for hoteliers, tours, activities providers as well as restaurants, to promote their products as gift ideas, extending their offer as well as combining new ones. 

Finally, increasing the value of vouchers for future stays, for instance by offering a great deal, implies supporting the travel industry, the sector that was most affected by the pandemic. 

At Twissen we observed that vouchers could provide tourism businesses with the chance of being more connected to their customers who, in the specific case of certain segments, are still searching for deals and innovative experiences and are ready to take-off. Moreover, new business models are already emerging such as, a marketplace where unused vouchers can be sold and bought. 

Author: Francesco Redi
President and founder at Twissen. Manager in Local Development, Tourism Policies,  EU Funds. He cooperates with several European universities, public bodies, development agencies, DMOs and enterprises.

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