Bank on the River

Kenneth Shapiro Sometimes it’s hard to read the newspaper. Between wars, politics and natural disasters there seems to be plenty of bad news to go around. If you want to avoid bad news in our industry, I suggest you stay away from the Business section too in particular, avoid the international exchange ra

By: Kenneth Shapiro

Sometimes it’s hard to read the newspaper. Between wars, politics and natural disasters there seems to be plenty of bad news to go around. If you want to avoid bad news in our industry, I suggest you stay away from the Business section too in particular, avoid the international exchange rates.

With the pound going almost two-for-one against the U.S. dollar, travelers to the U.K. this summer are in for serious quid shock. Unfortunately, the currency news is not great in much of the rest of Europe either. And don’t expect relief from any special pricing or packages. One hotelier recently told me that there are plenty of European travelers that are happy to pay for his company’s beds, so there is no need to cut rates for Americans in the form of packages. He also suggested that this is the summer for your clients to use any miles or points they have saved up in exchange for travel overseas.

“They’ll never be worth more than now,” he said.

Another option is to suggest a river cruise to your clients. As you’ll read in our cover story, “Take Them to the River” (page 18), a river cruise is one of the hottest products in travel. Not only does a cruise get clients off-the-beaten path and into the charming small towns of Europe, but value is a major selling point as well. As one executive in the story points out, any time you can pay for a trip in dollars, a year in advance, “it’s the bargain of a lifetime.”

Even though much of river cruising involves European destinations, don’t forget that there are plenty of cruises on the famous waterways of Asia, Africa, the Middle East, South America and right here in the U.S. as well. A river cruise can be a great way to see these places too.

Regardless of destination, however, the bottom line is, this summer when a family of four comes to you saying they want to finally see England, you might do better in the long run to suggest some options. Otherwise, you stand to be blamed for the bad news that is the U.S. dollar. K.S.

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