For those in the hospitality industry, offering a superior guest experience to the customer is vital. Customers must be satisfied not just while in their room, but for their entire time at the hotel. Check-in, check-out and payment processes, all have a lasting impact on customers long after they have left the hotel, says Gino Ravaioli, Chairman of the DCC Forum.
When it comes to catering to guests from overseas, providing a superior service must include offering choice and tailoring your service to their needs. Many hotels already offer their menus or welcome packs in multiple languages, and the very best will also have reception desks equipped to handle enquiries from visitors all over the world. Choice is key and the customer is king. So the same should go for the choice of currency when it comes to guests paying their final bill.
The UK’s tourism sector is expecting even more overseas growth going into summer of 2016, particularly from China following the state visit of President Xi which did plenty to promote the UK as a top tourism destination for the discerning tourist. Many of these guests will be dealing with the exchange rate to British Pounds for the very first time and will want to be as well informed as possible before making any purchases.
A large proportion of these guests, will also want to pay for their stay using either their credit or debit card, which presents hotels with the potential to offer dynamic currency conversion. Dynamic currency conversion, or DCC, is an additional service which hotels can offer guests who are paying using debit or credit cards from abroad. When presented with their bill in GBP, the customer can instead opt to use DCC and pay in their home currency.
Offering DCC has many advantages for hotels and for their customers. For the hotel, a customer selecting DCC means that the usual additional charges from the bank or card provider are replaced by a DCC fee, of which the hotel takes a margin. The hotel can then use this additional revenue to improve the customer experience, or simply pass on the savings.
In turn the customer gets the additional information and peace of mind of knowing exactly what they pay at the point of transaction. By selecting DCC, the customer will see on the payment terminal exactly what will come out of their bank account. This is in contrast to not selecting DCC, whereby additional charges from banks and card providers will usually be added on later and charged separately, sometimes days after the guest has left your hotel.
Often then, customers who have not used DCC can be left confused about the true cost of their stay after they have finished their holiday. By selecting DCC, your guests know exactly what they have been charged right there and can make an informed decision immediately as to whether or not they got what they expected and what they wanted for their money. They will also find it much easier to get a physical receipt which reflects the true cost of their stay, and this payment will appear just once in their transactions – which is particularly important for any business travellers.
It is important to note that DCC will not be for everyone and should always be presented as a choice. But as more international visitors opt to visit Britain, being able to offer them the choice of a card payment in their native currency is vital. What matters most is that your guests are well informed about the options when it comes to paying in pounds or in their home currency, and make the decision which is right for them. A well informed customer will usually also be a happy customer.