Businesses are really getting creative in their marketing efforts during this economic hardship our nation is facing. Retail clothing stores have been seen giving customers a 3 day 2 night Las Vegas hotel stay to the first 100 customers that come down to their store, no purchase necessary. The same retail store also ran a second promotion where if a customer would spend $100 in the store they would upgrade their Las Vegas hotel stay with two round trip airfare tickets. Car dealers are advertising free 2 night hotel certificates in many resort city destinations to customers that just come down for a test drive. When the customer purchases a vehicle, they upgrade their hotel stay to a 7 night cruise for two to the Bahamas or Caribbean. Vacation certificate incentives can work for virtually every industry.
Realtors are using vacation certificates to bring in more potential buyers to their open houses. Insurance agencies offer vacation certificates to customers if they call for a free quote. Then they upgrade the customers who purchase policies. With vacation certificate incentives you can create very effective employee recognition and loyalty programs, customer retention programs, referral programs, customer loyalty programs, lead generation program, customer appreciation programs, etc. When a businesses use incentives in conjunction with their existing advertising and marketing efforts, they can see a 30% increase in response rates to existing advertisements. Vacation incentives help business ring in more paying customers from their existing marketing efforts and from their repeat and referral business.
Vacation certificate incentive companies can be found by going to Google and entering the keywords vacation certificates or even vacation incentives. You will find hundreds of companies to choose from. All businesses should be aware that 99% of these vacation certificate incentive companies work on a business model called “breakage”. “Breakage” works like insurance. Insurance companies charge you a monthly fee, in the hopes that you never go to the doctor. These vacation certificate incentive companies do the same thing and charge you anywhere from $1.00 – $150.00 per certificate. They do not have any real contracts with hotels, cruise ships, airlines, etc. but instead just get the commissions anytime they book a customer in a vacation at the published rack rate (the same rate you find on Expedia or Travelocity). So let’s say you purchase 100 7 night cruise certificates at the going rate which is around $30.00. You just paid $3000.00 to give 100 of your paying customers a vacation certificate. The travel agency takes out $500 of the $3000.00 and pays the sales rep a commission. Then they take $500 or so for their take and put $2000.00 in a reserve account to pay for the vacations when your customers try and redeem the vacation certificate. The problem is that $2000.00 is not going to cover 100 7 night cruise getaways for two. They bank on only a small percentage of your customers to redeem the vacation certificate just like an insurance company banks on the insured never go to the doctor. When they run out of money to pay for the vacations they make up excuses to your customers telling them that their requested travel dates are not available and have them re-submit dates over and over only to have your customer give up in the end which can create unnecessary customer service issues to your business.
Can you imagine having to come out of pocket to pay for all the vacations your business promised all because the travel agency you paid $3000.00 to stops fulfilling your customers requests? Now you have once satisfied customers talking negatively about your business, and worst yet, it’s not even because of the product or service you have provided. What if it happens to the wrong customer, could you imagine about having to deal with a law suit because a customer that loved your business 2 years ago wants the luxury 7 night cruise you promised them.
Cruise ships, hotels, resorts and other travel establishments rarely have full occupancy accept during major holidays and weekends. So what they do is contract directly with certain incentive marketing companies who fill their empty rooms. When hotels, resorts, etc. have empty rooms, it’s basically a waste of a good room. They would rather have someone stay in the room for practically free in the hopes to make some revenue from their in house shops, restaurants, room service, spa and if it’s in Las Vegas, their casino where they make all their money. Vacation Certificate Incentive companies that work with this model are hard to find but they do exist.