Travel is not cheap. In times when the economy is not stable, it is the profits of the travel industry that will take a sizable hit. Travel agencies usually scramble for ideas to remain in profit during these dark times. Promos and events are usually their go-to solution. These agencies go to great lengths for their promotions. More often than not, contests and freebies are their go-to promotion strategies. They drum up contests in hopes that potential customers would be enticed to join in.
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They also use freebies to sweeten the deal for their customers. At the very least, the prizes and gifts that these travel agencies award to their patrons are usually related to travel. These things are usually services or some kind of experiences like diving, snorkeling, canyoneering, or breakfast buffet. Most of this stuff is intangible, other times, they cannot be attained or accessed until the customer or guest has arrived at the destination.
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Awarding stuff in advance so people can get a tad confusing. If you do not keep track of which services were awarded to which person in advance, chaos is sure to ensue down the line. These are what tickets and vouchers are made for.
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Vouchers are redeemable transaction bonds that have a certain monetary value. These bonds are usually only accepted and valid for specific reasons or specific products. A voucher can be for housing, food, or travel. Vouchers can also be referred to as proof of someone, usually, the voucher holder has paid for a service or product.
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Vouchers in Tourism
Vouchers that are mainly concerned in the field of tourism are called travel vouchers (though most just simply use the term voucher to refer to all types.) These types of vouchers are usually bought from a travel agency or won in a competition. Travel vouchers can be used to pay for travel costs like flights, accommodation or food.
Trave vouchers are primarily used as proof of a named customer’s right to avail of a service at a specific time and place. Service providers, in turn, collect the voucher to return to the travel agency, tour operator, or whoever it was that provided the said voucher, to prove that they have indeed provided the service. This approach is most suitable for free individual tourist activities when pre-allocation for services are unnecessary, unfeasible, or inapplicable.
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The Life of a Voucher
The life of a voucher is rarely complicated. Once issued, they lead a very straightforward purpose. Like tickets, they are used once and then discarded. A voucher’s life usually involves:
- Tour operators and travel agents usually award vouchers to customers who purchased the service or won the contest.
- The customers go to the vacation destination. They forward the voucher to the related provider. These people then provide the service that the voucher was issued for.
- Once the service has been rendered, the provider collects the voucher from the customer. They then send the collected vouchers to the agent or operator along with other similar vouchers. They then ask payments for those services.
- Vouchers that are uncollected do not need to be paid, and thus do not deserve payment.
Vouchers were traditionally handed out personally before the advent of the information era. With the advent of technology that broke the limits and lowered the cost of communication, vouchers have now been given a quite different role by retail and B2C applications.
If a reservation is made through the internet, vouchers are usually provided to customers through email or a website which can be printed. That being said, providers still require customers to present their voucher before providing service.
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Benefits of Providing Tourism and Travel Vouchers
A voucher’s service is not limited to the person buying said voucher. If a company decides, vouchers can also be sold for gifting. Gift vouchers are some of the more popular gift ideas come the holidays. Furthermore, not only are they convenient for customers, but they also carry with them inherent benefits.
- Vouchers can increase band awareness – Obviously, the person buying the gift voucher is already aware of your company. However, chances are the person receiving them is not. The gift voucher enables your product to reach more people. These gifted vouchers can increase awareness of your travel and tour agency. From there, you can expect your brand awareness to increase a bit through word of mouth.
- Vouchers can showcase the range of activity or tour you can provide – A person who receives a gift voucher has to decide on what activity or tour to spend it on. Such activity would mean looking up and reading a brochure, browsing about the offered product, and looking at the price. Basically, they need to do research. This research is basically just an invitation to “window shop” at the company’s services and products.
- Vouchers do wonders for customer retention – Stated above is how a voucher can promote window shopping and research in your company. These people can already be called as customers. These customers can be retained through their research work. Supposing you have a customer who has selected a product or activity that is cheaper than what the voucher provides. The voucher that that person is holding will have a remaining balance, which he or she can decide to spend on another occasion. This ensures that they will ultimately be back to spend the remainder of their gift.
- Vouchers can help increase revenue – In a somewhat related scenario as stated above, the person browsing for what to spend the voucher on may stumble on a product or service that costs more. If the customer ultimately decides that that is what he or she really wants, they might fork out the additional cash needed to avail of that decision. Not only does this generates the original worth of the said voucher, it also generates the additional cost of the product.
- Vouchers provide convenience to your customers – Just like most things, vouchers can also be bought online. By allowing your customers to buy vouchers for your company online, you give them a sense of convenience by avoiding the busy streets, traffic jams and long lines in the stores. The same deal applies to the customers redeeming the vouchers unless of course, they are redeeming a service. They need to be physically present for those.
- Vouchers allow for flexibility for time and product – One of the unique characteristics of the voucher is that they do not have to be redeemed as soon as possible. Usually, a voucher has a duration and an expiry date. This means that your customer can choose whenever it is that they want to retrieve the thing they want for their vouchers as long as it is within the voucher’s date of validity. Furthermore, unless it is bought for a certain product and service, vouchers can be used to exchange any product that the said customer wants. That’s flexibility in both product and time.
- Vouchers are a display of trust – Nobody buys a voucher if they do not trust the company providing them. Somebody buying a voucher for your travel agency means a lot of things. Most important of this is trust. Those customers who buy vouchers are essentially advocates for your brand. They love your products and services so much that they are confident enough to recommend it to somebody. One voucher sale from your brand is one vote of confidence for it.
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Cons that Vouchers Can Bring
Just as there are pros and benefits that vouchers can bring, they can also bring in some cons. These cons perfectly balance the pros they bring, as all things should be. If there were no cons to vouchers, then everyone would be literally giving them away.
The main con of having vouchers is that it will cost your company money, especially if you offer discounts. Yes, discounts may attract a number of customers, however, discounts also make a big difference in your profit margin. This discount approach can even trickle down to your regular customers who could get in the habit of waiting for vouchers before availing of any of your products or services. This approach cannibalizes your own income. So think carefully when you are going to apply a voucher program or system for your products and services.
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Vouchers are pieces of paper that are proof that a service or product have already been paid for. These are extremely useful for the tourism and travel industry as they provide convenience to their paying customers. Introducing a voucher program can bring in a lot of benefits, especially if you allow these vouchers to be gifted. However, they can also bring some cons or disadvantages. As such, it is important for a company to weight in and think carefully before selling or providing vouchers.