3 lessons from the Greek tourism industry on how to beat capital control

It goes without saying that when it’s hard to withdraw cash, spending becomes a dilemma. This has recently been the case in Greece, with tourists faced with more or less empty ATMs, resulting in a whole host of problems for those holidaying in the country.

Tourists in Greece want to pay for tours, adventure activities, and cultural experiences, but when withdrawing money is such a pain, they’re likely to reconsider spending any money.

Similarly, if they do manage to withdraw cash, they’re more likely to spend it in a restaurant or save it for emergencies instead of putting it aside for a tour.

Here are 3 lessons we’ve learnt from the Greeks when it comes to overcoming capital control.

Lesson 1: Let your customers book your tours and activities online

For tour and activity companies, online booking functionality means cash flow and efficiency. For their customers, it also makes perfect sense: in the last year, 39.7% of tourists booked their activities online and 30% of all online bookings were made on mobile devices. What’s more, these figures keep growing.

Online sales in Greece grew 20.4% in 2014, and are expected to reach €4.4 billion in 2015. And let’s not forget that 74% of travelers use the Internet to plan their leisure travel. Essentially, online booking has stopped being a trend and is now a rule.

If a tourism business does not have an online booking system, chances are that someone else is online stealing their customers.

Lesson 2: Let your customers pay electronically with credit cards

Accepting card payments on-the-go spares customers from the nuisance of withdrawing cash in-destination.

Imagine this: it’s the last day of your trip, you find an awesome zip-line over a cliff with a beautiful sunset in the horizon, and it’s just €20. It’s the perfect activity at the perfect time. However, you only have €15 in your pocket. You ask if they accept card, but they don’t… Not a great way to end your holiday, is it?

And what about the zip-line owner? He just lost a customer. More and more frecuently, tour operators are solving this problem by using mobile solutions to accept payments anywhere. It makes your business much more flexible too. Learn more about TrekkSoft’s card reader and mobile solutions here.

Lessons 3: Let your lemons be turned into lemonade

Fifteen years ago and with a strong Euro, Greece was perceived as a destination for the wealthy and the wealthier. However in the past two years, the Euro has fallen by more than 15% compared to currencies such as the American dollar, the British pound, and the Chinese yuan. This makes Greece an attractive destination with a reasonable price tag for non-EU tourists.

It’s also worth noting that Greek islands and historical sites are currently frequented by tourists from China: here’s how tour operators can tap into this fast growing market.


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