Trendy hospitality company Ace Hotel has launched a gift card programme for discounted stays that encourages people to pay now, go later. Erica Jamieson reports
With many hotels worldwide closed and struggling to stay afloat, unsure about when travel will start up again and bookings will come in, Ace Hotel has designed an innovative gift card scheme for travellers to invest in future stays – with the benefit of 20 per cent off room rates.
All Ace Hotel properties are currently closed in compliance with mandated stay-at-home orders but gift cards (ranging from US$100 to US$1,000) can be purchased at acehotel.com/giftcard for properties including the Ace Hotel New York, Ace Hotel Chicago, Ace Hotel & Swim Club in Palm Springs, Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles, Ace Hotel New Orleans, Ace Hotel Portland and Ace Hotel Seattle.
The initiative is a way of bringing in revenue for the company during the coronavirus travel ban, helping it secure its future and support staff. For travellers, it’s a way of having something concrete to look forward to – plus, they get discounted rates, with no expiration or blackout dates.Gift card balances can be split over single or multiple future stays, cover mini-bar expenses, room service, on-site retail, restaurant and bar costs, or be put towards a final bill.
In addition, 100 per cent per cent of proceeds up to US$100,000 and 25 per cent thereafter, will directly go to the Ace Family Fund, which was created to provide relief for employees furloughed without pay during the Covid-19 crisis.
Supporting funds from The Ace Family Fund will be distributed evenly as untaxed gifts, to ensure struggling families receive the maximum assistance possible. A GoFundMe campaign for the Family Fund has already raised more than US$34,000.“While the future of travel will inevitably change, we have hope that people’s capacity for altruism and kindness will stay connected to their love for adventure and self-care,” said Kelly Sawdon, chief of brand officer and partner at Ace Hotel Group and Atelier Ace. “We’re happy to offer a way for future travellers to plan for brighter days while simultaneously supporting others.”
Meanwhile, concierge company Porter & Sail’s Hotel Credits programme is partnering with luxury hotels worldwide to offer vouchers for future stays at discounted rates. Participating hotels span nine countries, and include the Drake Hotel in Toronto, Nayara Resorts in Costa Rica and Sixty Beverly Hills in LA.
Porter & Sail has also partnered with New York Presbyterian Hospital on its “Buy a Credit, Give a Credit” initiative. For every hotel credit purchase, a voucher for the same amount will be donated to a healthcare worker, which can be redeemed on a hotel getaway or spa treatment.
Kempinski has also recognised the value of gift cards. Anyone booking the “Make a Travel Promise” offer will get an upgrade to the next room category, a bottle of sparkling wine, breakfast and a 25 per cent discount at hotel restaurants and bars, as well as flexible arrival and departure times. Stays must be booked by June 10, 2020, with redemption until the end of March 2021.
At the same time, a number of hotels in the US are offering “hotel bonds’, which work like savings bonds. Hotel bonds purchased for US$100 will mature after 60 days to be worth US$150. Some properties are issuing multiple bonds to guests, who can find participating hotels online at Buy Now, Stay Later.
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