We are in the midst of the summer holiday season, bringing with it a long overdue break for holidaymakers and a revenue boost for businesses in popular summer spots. From hotels and guest houses, to restaurants and souvenir shops, the annual getaway marks the most important time of the year. Yet, like many industries, the breadth of choice now available to holidaymakers at almost every point of their trip means increased pressure on businesses in these destinations to make themselves the number one choice against the competition. Whilst merchants may have less control over the weather, foreign exchange rates and family disagreements during a holiday, there are aspects more within their control that can help make this summer one to remember.
Making a payment in a foreign country can bring confusion for holidaymakers when faced with an unfamiliar currency, uncertainty about current exchange rates and potentially a language barrier. All of these scenarios could lead to hesitation or abandoning the purchase altogether, so merchants hoping to secure a sale should reduce this as far as possible. Providing more clarity around the point of transaction and allowing holidaymakers to pay in a way that best suits them is one option. For cardholders, completing a purchase in their home currency, known as Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC), offers a more familiar experience. The price locks in the exchange rate and factors in all additional conversion charges, so what they see at the point of transaction is what appears on their bank statement. It gives clarity on what they are spending whilst away and means they aren't returning home to lots of additional bank charges. Alternatively, they can opt to pay in the local currency, with additional fees and exchange rates being applied at a later date.
With UK consumers increasingly opting for card and contactless payments over cash at home, it makes sense that they would carry this behaviour into their holidays. If merchants have a clear understanding of both payment options, they will feel better equipped to outline and explain these to their international customers and giving them confidence to complete the transaction. Beyond offering a choice in how their visitors make payments, merchants can also use DCC identify the currency a customer uses when at home, and from here usually establish their country of origin. Understanding where the majority of customers are coming from during the holiday season means businesses can go further in tailoring the experience they are offering. For example, if a lot of customers are coming from China, it would be worth considering employing a couple of members of staff who speak Mandarin as this will help create a better holiday experience which could see them returning.
In a world where the online review has become such a trusted tool for holidaymakers, providing the best experience has never been so important for merchants to entice their international visitors again next year.