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Holiday Hacks for the POS

Tourists are migrating from cash to cards, make sure you’re ready to welcome them.

For many merchants overseas visitors play a large part in their annual revenue generation, especially during busy summer months and holiday seasons.  With so much at stake, merchants must keep checkouts ‘traveller-friendly’ to win a bigger share of their holiday spend.

Europe is a hotspot for travellers

Europe is one of the most popular regions for tourists eager for a change of scene, for attractions, scenery, climate and culture. According to the UN World Tourism Organization, seven of the 10 most popular destinations to visit are in Europe. 

France holds the top spot as the most visited country in the world, attracting 100 million international tourists in 2023. In 2024, the Paris Olympics should push these numbers even higher. Spain takes second place with 85 million visitors. Both countries outperform the US (66 million), Italy (57 million) and Turkey (55 million).

Tourists are eager to spend (some more than others)

Globally, travel and tourism contributed 7.7 trillion U.S. dollars in 2022 – representing 7.6% of the total global GDP, and making it an important contributor to local economies.

When it comes to spending, Chinese tourists spend the most – around €183 billion in 2023 – this tops Americans, who spent €114 billion last year. German, British and Italian tourists are also among the highest spenders.

Having the ability to target specific groups is key to maximising sales. It’s why merchants should always be aware of tourist demographics so they can make their most important overseas visitors welcome, whether that’s with multilingual signage, special offers and discounts or payment choice.

Payment preferences are changing

Travellers no longer need to rely on travellers cheques and a fistfull of cash. In addition to being inconvenient to exchange, these carry a high risk if lost or stolen. 

To meet their travel, shopping, subsistence and entertainment needs, tourists are increasingly using digital payments – credit, debit and travel cards and mobile wallets.  Digital payments offer the advantage of protection – through online portals or apps – which users can use to freeze or cancel payments in the event of loss or theft.  Travellers can also use them at ATMs to withdraw currency if needed.

In the past, high fees, charges, poor exchange rates and acceptance issues made travellers reluctant to use their local cards abroad.

Today, international travel cards – including pre-paid cards and specialist debit and credit cards with fixed and preferential rates, have changed travellers’ attitudes.  Good value, combined with easy-to-carry convenience, and wider-scale acceptance (aided by co-branded cards), have seen their popularity rise.  Merchants should be able to reflect this at the checkout.

Having a broad checkout mix, is a great way to attract more business

Today’s POS devices, new payment formats, and international payment schemes and agreements, make it easier than ever for merchants to accept cross-border payments at the sales point.

Seven traveller-friendly POS hacks:

  • Think beyond the big three (Mastercard, Visa and Amex) and be ready to align payment options with your overseas customers’ most popular choices – e.g. consider AliPay for Chinese visitors and Diners Club for Americans.
  • Make sure your POS has the option to offer Dynamic Currency Conversion so international customers can choose to pay by card or digital wallet in their home currency.  This removes tourists’ anxiety and lets them know exactly how much they’ve spent.
  • If spend is subject to local taxes, consider offering Tax Free Shopping automatically via the till point, or introducing a self-service kiosk where they can scan and process their receipts.  Saving customers money is a great way to boost loyalty especially for high end retailers and hotels.  
  • Make sure you clearly indicate which payment methods are accepted to prevent any embarrassment when it comes to purchase.  Having card brand logos displayed is an easy way to attract potential buyers.
  • Stay up to date with new payment methods and changing cross border developments.  Payment scheme agreements are constantly evolving meaning options like real-time account-to-account payments are becoming more widely used.  Choose POS devices, like those from Castles Technology, with software that can be updated remotely to keep your checkout mix relevant.
  • Ensure all checkouts can accept contactless and QR payments. Empowered by fintech apps, travellers increasingly expect to scan a QR code, or tap their digital wallet, at the checkout, and complete the payment withing their payment app.
  • Use multimedia functionality of your POS and third-party media services to display specific language prompts, messages, ads and promotions, if a country-specific payment method is detected.

Castles Technology helps merchants ensure a warm welcome

Whether you’re in the hospitality business, or a merchant located in a popular tourist destination, we have POS devices for every application. Our solutions can be easily customised in-the-field to suit your needs as they evolve – whether that’s adding new payment methods, security patches or mandated updates. 

In addition, our Terminal Management Platform, CasHub, lets you manage all your devices centrally, ensure encryption processes, and connect to our third-party service ecosystem to deliver the best experiences with minimal effort and cost.

Let us widen your holiday appeal!

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