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Increasing tourist spend by taking guess work out

Media Release

Increasing the tourist spend by taking the guess work out of cost

Businesses are being encouraged to use technology which takes the guess work out of the cost of purchases for foreign tourists – a move which is expected to increase the tourist spend.

The technology converts transactions into the tourist’s home currency so they will know exactly what the item costs them. The product – Westpac Currency Choice – works on an eftpos terminal and shows the customer onscreen what the exchanged rate is.

Director of independent eftpos supplier Viaduct, Mark Unwin, says initially the uptake for the new technology has been slow, however those businesses who are on board have noticed a difference.

Mr Unwin says the technology carries benefits for both the business and the purchaser. It makes it easier for tourists to budget and has been shown to increase spending as for most currencies things “appear” cheaper.

“The cost of a purchase in New Zealand is often better than what it would cost in the visitor’s home country, and having a conversion allows the buyer to see that immediately. With this certainty people are relaxed about spending more.”

He says an added benefit for the business is they will receive a percentage of the transaction.

“Westpac Currency Choice is a great development for the 50,000 merchants that deal directly with the overseas tourist market as it gives them the ability to provide better customer service while earning revenue. A real win win situation.”

One Welllington business to adopt the new technology is café Floriditas, with owner James Pedersen saying the benefit is already apparent.

“Tourists love the certainty of the transactions and we have seen them spend more as a result which is a great spin off for us.”

Mr Unwin says while the technology is new to New Zealand, foreign currency conversion has become standard practice overseas. This trend is expected to be seen in New Zealand.

“It has been well received internationally, with uptake rates of around 95% among leading Australian retailers. Using the conversion is just as quick as a usual transaction, and it takes the guess work out of the true cost of the purchase.”

“The reality is that New Zealand business owners will notice that customers will increasingly regard this level of price certainty as commonplace, particularly with the volatility of foreign currency markets.”

He says the technology allows for purchasers to decide whether or not their purchase is made in New Zealand dollars or in their currency.


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