In Brexit’s Wake, Monitoring Travel FX

Corporate travel

With the pound pressured against other currencies, not only are holidaygoers finding it imperative to map FX rates and see where money goes in bookings but so are corporates. FairFX CEO Ian Strafford-Taylor told PYMNTS how exchange rates and currency rates can make a difference to bottom lines.

Brexit has had a ripple effect across the geopolitical stage, with worries over other countries gearing up to shun EU inclusion frightening investors. Political parties have been roiled. Financial firms have been girding for new centers of power and even shifting employees to mainland Europe.

One other subset of impact has been among foreign exchange rates, chiefly as the U.K.’s currency has fallen in relation to other currencies globally. That, of course, makes it more expensive for holidaygoers within the U.K. to book trips abroad. FairFX CEO Ian Strafford-Taylor noted that his firm’s latest tie-in with Monarch Airlines seeks to help leisure booking gain more value for the money.

There’s a cross-selling opportunity behind the new relationship, wherein the multi-currency payments service gets promotion from the leisure airline group for FairFX international transfers and passengers get currency card promotions and preferential exchange rates. “It’s a delicate balance,” said the CEO, “between the booking and the flow of the transaction” to bringing cross-selling opportunities into the conversation, said Strafford-Taylor, with an advantage tied to the fact that both companies are fully invested in mutually beneficial opportunities.

If Brexit is the change-maker that has leisure time filtered through a new mindset, it is also a seismic enough event to bring corporate travel and FX rates under scrutiny for road warriors and their higher-ups, possibly even as a result of the aforementioned cross-selling partnership with Monarch. Strafford-Taylor noted to PYMNTS that his firm had corporate cards geared toward travel (and geared toward firms of all sizes) long before the Monarch deal, with the prepaid offerings — a converse to the traditional method of booking flights and other activities — paying beforehand and then presenting receipts for reimbursement.

The practice of getting money upfront — and being aware of budget, with interactions online and visible to the traveler — helped reduce spending by between 10 and 20 percent, not an insignificant sum when travel expenses across the nation measure in the billions of pounds.

Impact to the corporate world extends, post-Brexit, to embrace more efficient B2B management up and down the supply chain, especially across borders and currencies and especially in import and export situations. As Strafford-Taylor noted, some firms may not know exactly what they are paying on FX, and with cards or smart planning, savings of 3–5 percent can make an impact on the bottom line.