The upcoming tournament is set to provide a lucrative opportunity for businesses. For those companies based within the 11 host cities, the event is set to be a significant demand driver. So how can small to medium sized businesses in the UK capitalise on the games and boost their bottom line?
(1) Cater for an international audience
According to PwC, approximately 500,000 tourists are projected to visit the UK to watch the Rugby World Cup. Over 40 per cent are expected to come from Europe; 19 per cent from Australasia, 9 per cent from North America and four per cent from Africa. Visitors from outside of Europe, Africa and Australasia are expected to spend the most with an average daily expenditure of £202 per visitor. African visitors are predicted to spend an average of £200 each per day, with those from Australasia spending £173 and those from Europe spending £121 on average.
In total, these visitors are set to inject up to £869m of revenue into the UK economy by spending money on items such as hospitality, travel and accommodation. With more international tourists expected than any other tournament, small and medium-sized businesses are already looking at how they can best cater to a diverse, international audience.
One easy way to keep international visitors happy is to ensure they can pay in the currency of their choice. Typically referred to as dynamic currency conversion (DCC), the service enables international Visa and MasterCard cardholders to pay in their home currencies, allowing them to see the true cost of their transactions at the time of purchase rather than when their credit card bill arrives. DCC from Elavon, for example, can convert debit or credit card transactions in up to 46 currencies.
DCC also provides businesses with a rebate from each transaction, generating additional revenue with minimal effort. Therefore, independent retailers, pubs, restaurants and hotels who do not offer DCC may miss out on an easy way to maximise their profits.
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(2) Diversify your payment options
Smaller, independent companies could attract more customers by advertising acceptance of payments from a variety of card schemes such as American Express, Diners’ Club and UnionPay International.
Although these card providers sometimes charge more in merchant fees, this could be balanced out by the increase in customer numbers and ability to process and accept even more purchases. Making sure that your business can accept these types of cards will reduce potential customers being turned away unnecessarily and heading to a nearby competitor.
(3) Avoid a scrum and go contactless
Contactless payment terminals, already well-established in the UK, have dramatically sped up the purchasing process by allowing shoppers to simply “tap and pay”. In fact, according to data published by The UK Cards Association, spending on contactless cards in the UK has more than trebled over the last year to reach a record £2.32bn in 2014.
Contactless payments are popular with shoppers because they make the payment process quicker.
During busy events, such as the Rugby World Cup, SMEs could consider adding extra contactless terminals and/or installing mobile payment terminals so that staff also have the option to process payments away from fixed till points. This is particularly handy for busy pubs and bars as staff can settle bills at people’s tables and away from the bar where people are trying to order food and drink.
With the Rugby World Cup less than three months away, these are just some of the changes that SMEs can put into place so that they have the opportunity to maximise their revenues during one of the biggest sporting events of 2015.
Hannah Fitzsimons is head of business development, Europe, Elavon.
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