What is the meaning / definition of Vouchers in the hospitality industry?
Voucher is a ‘coupon’ given to a guest for a specific prepaid service (accommodation in a hotel) handheld out by a travel agency. As a form of a ‘receipt’ the traveler can then claim the service he paid for.
Hotel Vouchers are commonly used when a hotel booking has been made through a 3rd party (not directly at the hotel), as evidence that the traveler is listed as a guest at the hotel and that his reservation has been paid for. After finalising a booking the travel agent (or OTA) gives / sends the client a Voucher (nowadays usually per mail). This voucher is then to be presented to the hotel at the time of check in.
Vouchers are very common in the travel industry, often they are used when a traveler purchases a tour (the voucher indicates that certain tour components have been prepaid). Vouchers are then exchanged for tour components like accommodations, meals, sightseeing, tickets, etc. during the actual trip. The voucher allows hotels to collect payments from the travel agent beforehand without charging it to the customer.
A voucher may only cover a certain amount of a service or rate or the total amount of the guest’s stay depending on the type of voucher.
There are various types of vouchers. Promotion- or gift vouchers are among them, as vouchers may also be part of competitions, contests and other marketing promotions done by a hotel in order to gain additional revenue or promotion. Besides a discounted room rate voucher, hotels can offer vouchers for extra services like: upgrades, restaurants, spa, parking, paid facilities located at the hotel and tours organized by the hotel.
Hotel may give vouchers for these services as a form of a marketing campaign, in line with a loyalty program or as a response to a client complaint. A traveler can also win an entire stay at a hotel in a competition or be gifted with a hotel voucher from a relative/ partner/ company he works for (as an incentive), etc.