By Andrew Key, President of Europe for Elavon

The UK economic recovery is gathering momentum and this is set to continue with the upcoming Rugby World Cup taking place later this year. With approximately 14 million UK fans looking to watch the games and 500,000 tourists joining them from overseas, the tournament is set to benefit businesses across the country, and particularly those based within the 11 host cities.

Economists agree, forecasting that the Rugby World Cup will generate up to £2.2 billion overall. It is therefore essential that businesses are fully prepared to capitalise on this additional revenue stream. Andrew Key, President of Europe for Elavon, presents three key pieces of advice on how businesses can achieve this.

1. Ensure overseas visitors can pay in the currency of their choice

According to a report by Ernst & Young 41% of overseas visitors are expected to come from Europe; 19% from Australasia, 9% from North America and 4% from Africa. Between them, it is believed that they will contribute £869m to the UK economy. It is therefore vital that retail and hospitality businesses make it as easy as possible for these customers to 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. With up to 46 currencies available to choose from, it’s a simple way for businesses to improve their payment options for an international audience.

DCC also offers businesses a rebate for each transaction, which generates additional revenue with minimal effort.

2. Embrace contactless payment technologies

With a huge influx of visitors headed to the UK, contactless payments will help speed up the payment process and minimise queues. Particularly for busy pubs and restaurants, adopting contactless and mobile technology can help to significantly increase throughput and revenue.

Statistics show that cashless payments are now more popular than those carried out with coins or notes. Given this, it becomes essential that businesses start taking the steps to implement contactless technologies if they have not already.

Businesses may also want to look at installing more terminals on site during the tournament to absorb this expected increase in demand. These terminals should be as mobile as possible, to ensure that businesses can fully take advantage of sales opportunities outside of the traditional fixed point retail environment.

3. Accept payment from more card associations

Finally, if they do not already, businesses should consider accepting payments from more card schemes, such as American Express, Diners’ Club and UnionPay International. While some schemes can charge higher merchant fees, they do provide greater reach to international visitors and can enable even more purchases. Taking this approach means that potential customers will not have to be turned away unnecessarily.

With the Rugby World Cup fast approaching, ensuring that both international and home grown fans can easily pay for products and services will be vital for delivering a successful experience at what will be the biggest global sporting event of 2015.