The leading Indian hospitality group opts for the STAAH Gift Voucher System to bring in additional revenues in a slow market.
An early adopter of innovative hospitality practices and the fastest going hotel chain in India, Lemon Tree Hotels, has added gift vouchers to its marketing mix. It’s the latest offering will be powered by the STAAH Gift Voucher Engine, a plug-and-use, feature-rich e-shop to sell gift vouchers on the brand’s website.
“There is no quick-fix for the current crisis faced by the travel and hospitality industry,” says Prasad Iyer, Vice President – Digital, e-commerce, Distribution & Rewards, Lemon Tree Hotels. “By taking innovative steps, the impact of the pandemic on revenues can slowly be reversed. The addition of gift vouchers in our marketing mix adds another revenue stream, to counter the reduction of revenue from the corporate segment.”
“For our guests, both existing and new, the addition of gift vouchers brings in greater flexibility to enjoy the Lemon Tree experience.”
Prasad also pointed to the long-term benefits of gift voucher marketing as it brings instant cash flow into the business. “This revenue will immediately add to the topline and a part of it (unutilized vouchers) will go to the bottom line.”
The gift vouchers will market all of the group’s 81 properties across 49 destinations. Launched in August 2020, Lemon Tree is currently offering cash discounts via its gift vouchers. “The plan is to expand this into offers, tailoring it based on seasonality, demand, and availability to grow it into a robust and highly profitable revenue stream.” Guests can expect experiences around food and beverage, wellness, etc. as part of this offering.
Gift card marketing has seen a significant uptake in recent months as hospitality businesses look for alternate revenue streams in these difficult times.
“Our New Zealand partners reported more than half a million dollars (NZD) in gift voucher sales in the first six months of 2020,” says Tarun Joukani, Commercial Director STAAH India Ltd.
“For guests, gift cards bring flexibility to book and go for attractive offers. When combined with their easy online access and redemption, they make a popular purchase,” he adds. From a property’s perspective, instant cash injection apart, gift vouchers present an opportunity to increase the visibility of your property and showcase its features.
It can be effectively combined with the hotel cancellation policy where gift vouchers are offered for guests looking to cancel non-refundable rates. “Building loyalty and being flexible in times like this is critical to business sustainability,” says Tarun.
The STAAH Gift Voucher Engine is an off-the-shelf e-commerce platform that can be plugged into the hotel company’s brand website. The engine can be customized to fit the look and feel of the hotel brand. Easy-to-use, it takes the hassle of managing gift card sales and redemption off the operations team, making it a seamless experience for both the guest and the property.
“STAAH is an existing distribution partner,” says Prasad. “Their technology is reliable, scalable, and easy-to-use. Partnering with them for gift voucher marketing made sense.”
When it comes to promoting the gift vouchers, all relevant channels will be activated, including email, search, and social marketing. “Offline promotions will also be pushed as we aim to leverage the loyalty of guests who have experienced our brand.”
About Lemon Tree Hotels
Lemon Tree Hotels Limited is India’s largest hotel chain in the mid-priced hotel sector, and the third-largest overall, on the basis of controlling interest in owned and leased rooms, as of June 30, 2017, according to the Horwath Report. We operate in the upscale segment and in the mid-market sector, consisting of the upper-midscale, midscale, and economy segments. We deliver differentiated yet superior service offerings, with a value-for-money proposition.
LTHL opened its first hotel with 49 rooms in May 2004 and currently operates: 8,050 rooms in 81 hotels (including Keys hotels) across 49 destinations, in India and abroad, under its various brands viz. Aurika Hotels & Resorts, Lemon Tree Premier, Lemon Tree Hotels, Red Fox Hotels, Keys Prima, Keys Select, and Keys Lite. As the current pipeline becomes operational, LTHL will be operating 108 hotels with ~10,700 rooms, across 69 destinations, in India and abroad.
Lemon Tree Hotels, including Keys Hotels, are located across India, in metro regions including the NCR, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Chennai, as well as numerous other tier I and tier II cities such as Pune, Ahmedabad, Chandigarh, Jaipur, Indore, Aurangabad, Udaipur, Vishakhapatnam, Kochi, Ludhiana, Thiruvananthapuram and Vijayawada.The company expanded internationally with hotels opening in Dubai in December 2019 and in Bhutan in February 2020. New hotels are also set to open internationally in Bhutan and Nepal.