2022 could be dubbed ‘The year of voucher accommodation’, with a massive 40 percent uptake in Australia and New Zealand. In 2022 there was a stand-out trend among Australian hotels to invest in a digital gift voucher system.
Many hotels undertook research into the various types of gift voucher options available, and many listened to proposals from website development companies who specialise in gift cards and stay vouchers. Here are some of the critical points that emerged from 2022.
7 Key Features of Digital Gift Vouchers
For a hassle-free life, make sure the digital gift voucher your hotel chooses can be applied to accommodation, food & beverage, and spa. It goes without saying the value of the voucher must be able to be for either a fixed amount or for a customised amount and it will be a breeze to create any conceivable package.
The digital gift voucher should be mobile first, because that’s where the bulk of your consumers will be.
For campaigns or member discounts, the digital gift voucher needs to have the capacity to include promotion or coupon codes.
For security and ease of use, the digital voucher accommodation must come with a full payment solution to process credit cards.
Redeeming the stay voucher will be simple and fast. Look for a digital gift card developer who adds a page to your website and avoid offers of software packages. If redemption is through a page on your website then the end user just needs access to the internet.
Make sure your stay vouchers provide a modern reporting system to you, the hotelier. You want complete control and to be able to view, manage and edit all orders and payments. There should be real time tracking to track, measure and report on all sales. You want to be able to track your sales campaigns with Google Analytics ID tracking. There needs to be a full audit trail. The system needs to be able to manage and track bulk voucher sales, and create promotional codes to manage and track marketing campaigns.
Think of your investment in a digital voucher system as an ongoing relationship. Expect continual improvements, with regular version releases free of charge. Also, full project management, unlimited service and support, and complimentary training needs to be included.
Pricing varies wildly among digital gift card providers. In our opinion, the best operators don’t charge setup fees or annual fees and only charge commission when you sell, or charge a small monthly fee in lieu of commission.
Australia – Compliance with Country/State/Territory Laws for Hotels
If your hotel is just branching out to corporate guests, then you will need to get up to speed with consumer law around the use of voucher accommodation.
The good thing about digital voucher accommodation is that as they are relatively new, mostly they were developed after the Australian Consumer Law about gift cards came into effect on 1 November 2019. As a recap, the law now controls the variables about a gift card, the things that the issuer used to have a say over and the consumer probably didn’t pay much attention to. In general, the updated consumer laws make complete sense when the end user is an individual or Jo Public, but things don’t gel that well when the end user is a corporate client.
3 Step Checklist for Hotels – Australian Consumer Law Compliance
1. There is now a minimum three-year expiry period for gift cards and stay vouchers. The period begins from the date a gift card is sold to a consumer. Hotels can choose to apply an expiry period longer than three years and no maximum expiry period applies.
Where hotels come up against the consumer law is when applying the nitty gritty of employee reward programmes, customer loyalty programmes, and temporary marketing promotions. In these cases, the three-year expiry date does not apply, and this allows businesses (corporate clients) to use their hotel stay vouchers as a time critical or motivating product.
2. Gift cards or voucher accommodation must prominently display the expiry date, or the period-of-time from purchase when the gift card will expire. In the second case, the purchase date must also be displayed so the expiry date is clear.
3. Generally, gift card holders cannot be stung for fees, however hotels can still cover the cost of processing a payment. For hotels, the ban on post purchase fees does not apply to overseas transaction fees, booking fees, payment surcharge fees, and fees charged for the reissue of a lost, stolen or damaged card. Hotels are also able to charge an upfront fee when a consumer purchases a gift card.
Does your hospitality business have a gift voucher solution?
Book a demo using the calendar or contact our Partnerships Director Nick Hollows [email protected] for an in-depth discussion about how HyperGift® can hyper-charge your online gift voucher sales and generate that all-important additional revenue stream.