The Adrian Loveridge Column – Banks Can Do More
While this may not be universally accepted, I firmly believe that our banks can be far more proactive in contributing to our overall national economic recovery. We understand they are under severe pressure regarding the Government ‘haircutting’ of bonds, debentures and other borrowings, but no-one can be under any illusion that they will not make up this deficit by imposing yet more ‘creative’ ways in extracting fees, from the only other means possible, their customers.
From a tourism perspective, they could partner with the private sector, possibly through the trade association, to offer bonus or cash-back when using credit cards for payment during specific shoulder periods to grow the staycation market and entice more locals to dine in our myriad of restaurant choices. Of course there is no reason to restrict any promotion to solely accommodation and dining, it could be expanded to include day spas, activities, attractions and car rental among others.
At least one of our banks currently offers enhanced cash-back on groceries, fuel and pharmaceuticals with a lower percentage rate offered on other purchases or payments.
Any joint promotion could also be restricted to specific periods, a particular month or two and the technology already exists to monitor the cost-effectiveness of the campaign.
With what appears, an inevitable Brexit, just days away, we can only speculate at what potential negative effect it will have on our British market, whether through higher prices and/or a lower value of Sterling. It is therefore imperative that we put some other marketing initiatives in place that could possibly help mitigate this threat.
‘Our’ banks will not be immune from any loss in visitor arrival numbers and spend from the United Kingdom, even if only reflected in currency exchange at branch level. Ian Strafford-Taylor the CEO of FairFX, the foreign exchange dealer, recently stated ‘with two months to go until the UK is due to leave the European Union, it’s not just analysts who should be keeping an eye on how the Pound reacts. British tourists looking to get best value for their holiday money, in or out of the Eurozone, should be watching closely where their money will go further.
The vast majority of repeat visitors will already be paying prices higher than ever before, due to the imposition of the various new taxes. Perhaps it has never been so important to at least try to demonstrate that we can continue to justify a value-for-money offering.
Local banks should also be fully aware of the explosion of pre-paid currency cards in our source markets, where fixed exchange rates can be obtained, often with a very generous sign-up bonus.
In the case of US Dollar options which include Revolut, WeSwap and FairFX, these can be used just like debit cards, with no commission payable by the holder. As an example, the GB Pounds 25.28 placed in a FairFX card gave me a spendable value of US$63 with a TopCashBack special offer.
A great deal more creativity is needed.