For 2024, a significant trend is emerging in the American travel industry. Domestic tourism remains strong, but enthusiasm for going further afield stays equally robust, and could easily continue to grow. Whether it’s relatively “local” destinations like Cancun, or Eco Diving in remote archipelagos, exploring overseas is big business. This trend presents a lucrative opportunity for travel money retailers, particularly banks and credit unions.

Scanning the Horizon

Two recent articles bring these trends to life: Skyscanner’s report “Travel Trends in 2024” and Conde Nast Traveler’s article “The Biggest Travel Trends for 2024.”  The data indicates a clear shift in American travel preferences. Destinations like Japan, Italy, and Australia top the list of must-visit places, as noted by Skyscanner. The allure isn’t just in their exotic appeal; it’s also in the unique experiences they offer – from the serene temples of Kyoto to the bustling streets of Rome, or iconic beaches in Sydney.

The type of vacations sought by travelers is evolving. Conde Nast Traveler highlights a trend towards more niche experiences. In particular, wealthy travelers are seeking itineraries that offer more than just sightseeing – they’re want immersive cultural experiences, adventure sports, and wellness retreats. There’s a real willingness to spend more.

The Need for Foreign Currency

These trends underscore the importance of foreign currency for U.S. travelers. The convenience of having the right money in hand upon arrival cannot be overstated. Waiting to exchange currency at the airport or in the destination country promises unfavorable exchange rates and additional fees. The smart choice is to purchase in advance.

Opportunities for Banks and Credit Unions

For banks and credit unions, it’s an opportunity to meet a growing demand. By being aware of popular destinations and the corresponding currencies, financial institutions can position themselves as the go-to providers for travel money. However, the key is not just in offering foreign currency but in making the process as convenient and efficient as possible for customers.

Enter Money 4 Travel by Essiell Ltd – a white-label foreign currency purchase service tailored for the banking sector. Its integration into bank and credit union systems is seamless and does not require complex or costly system changes. Customers can easily order their travel money using smartphones or computers on a click-and-collect basis. This added layer of convenience aligns with modern consumer expectations, and many will not use alternative methods.

Money 4 Travel – Benefits

Money 4 Travel is adopted easily by banks and credit unions. There’s no infrastructure upheaval, as it works comfortably with existing systems. Its point-of-sale system is straightforward, allowing for quick transactions. Processes are automated, communicating directly with the institution’s foreign currency provider; purchases are debited from  customer accounts like any other transaction.

Perhaps most importantly, Money 4 Travel is efficient and cost-effective. It frees up branch staff to focus on other customer needs while making the sale of foreign currency more straightforward and profitable. And efficiencies mean that credit unions and banks can remain very competitive with exchange rates.

Embracing the Future of Travel Money

The message for banks and credit unions is clear: the travel money market is evolving, and so should their services. By embracing solutions like Money 4 Travel, financial institutions can provide a valuable service to their traveling customers, ensuring they are well-equipped for their international adventures – all while demonstrating good value for money. In doing so, they not only enhance customer satisfaction but also tap into a growth area of tourism.

By Declan Morton, staff writer at Essiell Ltd.

Reference: “Travel Trends in 2024” (Skyscanner, October 18, 2023),  “The Biggest Travel Trends for 2024” (Conde Nast Traveler, December 18, 2023 )

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