As a business owner, getting your money when it’s owed to you can be challenging enough without the added complexity of international travelers into the mix. These visitors may not have the local currency, may be using a foreign credit card, or otherwise complicate the payment process. That’s why, if you work in a tourism-related industry or in a region that sees a lot of international travelers, it’s important to streamline your invoicing process.
What are the best practices for collecting payments from tourists? These steps can help make the process go more smoothly.
Know The DCC
Typically, travelers are expected to pay for things in the local currency, but in some cases, such as in the UK, they aren’t actually required to do this. Instead, they can choose to pay for a product or service in their home currency and you can apply the Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC).
What does that mean? Well, if these same customers paid with a foreign credit card, the fee would be applied there, but when they pay in cash, they’re essentially paying for the currency conversion upfront. You’ll want list the payment options clearly on the invoice and explain the option to your customers – some will benefit more from paying this way while others will prefer to change their method of payment to local currency or a credit card.
Know Your Limits
Some tourism-related companies will have a harder time handling currency changes and alternative payments than others. For example, outdoor recreation companies, such as those that offer parasailing excursions, may have no problem accepting alternative forms of payment when the activity is booked in advance. Problems arise, however, when it comes to accepting payments onsite.
Since parasailing involves flying through the air behind a boat, many of the businesses that provide the experience are located on the beach. Lack of resources, especially in more remote locations, may mean that purveyors only take cash or can only process local credit cards. Companies in this position should clearly post this information both online and at their location. When it comes to technological barriers to payment, people tend to be more understanding.
Know Local Systems
As a business owner, you need to keep tabs on legal changes in your region – while your travelers should do their best to learn what the expectations will be in the areas they’re visiting, but this can be a challenge, especially if there’s a language barrier involved.
One way you can ensure that customers pay you correctly is by making sure they know how to obtain appropriate currency. In Bali, for example, it used to be legal to pay for purchases in U.S. dollars and many companies still post prices in dollars. Now customers need to pay in Indonesian Rupiah and will need to know where to exchange their money.
What you should do, then, is list recommended moneychangers on your invoices so that they don’t go to a disreputable operator or counterfeiter. This can result in problems for both of you if they wind up defrauded out of their money.
Join A Network
Finally, you can speed up transactions with international travelers by clearly listing accepted international credit cards on your invoices. Members of the Discover Global Network, for example, can accept Elo (Brazil), UnionPay (China), RuPay (India), and other cards but travelers may not know this if they only see the Discover logo displayed. It’s all about accommodating their needs to get yours met.
There’s no surefire path to clear payment when working within an international context, but good invoicing practices can go a long way. No matter what you do, however, you’re likely to encounter the occasional unexpected fee or struggle to pin down the best transaction method. The more accommodating you are, the more customers will be happy to work with you to find the right payment solution.