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Experiences, not expiry dates: how encouraging unclaimed voucher redemption can build business and trust

With the potential of travellers missing out on a staggering €600 million worth of expiring travel vouchers, by being proactive and targeted in their messaging, travel companies have a real opportunity to help the industry's revival and their business. And with the temptation to do the minimum, so unused vouchers get released to profit, this short-term thinking could be at the expense of future business and customer trust.

For travel businesses, people sitting on significant volumes of unclaimed vouchers means dormant customers that aren't experiencing their offering. And by not claiming them, building a relationship with these consumers is difficult until they eventually activate their vouchers.  

For most businesses, encouraging voucher redemption comes down to repeatedly emailing the voucher holders, using the expiry deadline as the stick to drive action. But this one-size fits all approach fails to capitalise on the real opportunity. Personalising your messaging and adopting a multi-channel strategy can endear customers to your brand and deliver profitable relationships. So how can this be achieved?  

Fresh data, fresh perspectives      

Critical to this is having access to insights into your voucher holders' mindset and approach to travel. And to widen your perspective, working with the right partner that can pay dividends. After all, different voucher group segments will have different triggers and tapping into these is vital. This means taking advantage of new data to reveal these crucial insights. 

In doing so, you can identify your priority segment – those who are back in the market and travelling. And it's this group that should be most responsive when it comes to encouraging them to travel by redeeming their vouchers. Data and technology can help you understand where they've been, what future trips they're considering (or even what bookings they've abandoned), and their preferred device for carrying out their research. Tailoring your messaging around destinations that may resonate with them or reminding them what they can get for their voucher is much more impactful than focusing on an expiry deadline.   

You can also uncover those starting to dip their feet back into travel and what they're considering based on their research behaviour.  

And what about those disengaged customers that are out of the travel mindset? Recognising this group and their need for reassurance and encouragement to return to travel is only possible by going beyond just the data you have.     

In gaining these new insights, your communications will dramatically improve. Instead of being functional, suddenly, they become inspirational. Getting recipients to dream about where they want to go can trigger action. And through the right technology, this can all be achieved quickly and efficiently.   

But many travel businesses are blind to the opportunities because they can't identify their audiences outside of their own website. That's why investing in a robust digital identifier tied to a real person is essential today. Rather than limiting your channels to email, using identifiers to find your customer online suddenly expands your communications options. By recognising and reaching your voucher holders across the web and using the available signals, you can take a more holistic approach and communicate with them in a relevant way that encourages them to redeem them. Ultimately, this all means you can help influence (and encourage) their travel decisions early on and not wait until they input a voucher code to begin communicating with them. 

What's good for customers is good for business 

And this opportunity to tap into traveller needs can lead to higher spend. Voucher values may only cover part of the flight costs, so encouraging redemption could result in a higher value final purchase. And if you offer a package of options, there could be opportunities to cross sell accommodation, car hire, or other travel services when customers redeem their vouchers. By treating your customers correctly, messaging them appropriately and encouraging them not to lose out on their money, you can gain revenue. And with customers increasingly turning to brands they trust, this can earn you their respect and a competitive advantage in these challenging times.   

Far from being just an exercise in getting people to use or lose their unclaimed vouchers, there is a real opportunity for brands to engage with customers and welcome them back. It's a chance to put them in a position to re-experience (or experience) your brand by encouraging them to activate their vouchers and become a regular customer. 

But this is only possible if you have the necessary insights and technology to facilitate relevant, targeted communications.  

If you're looking to take advantage of the communication and business opportunities the outstanding voucher situation offers, do get in touch with our travel team.