As I mentioned a week and a bit ago, I’m presently on holidays, traveling the Nile. It is very Agatha Christie, and in fact, I have visited the two colonial style hotels (one in Aswan, the other in Luxor) where that worthy did her research for the classic book. Thankfully, noone has been murdered yet in real life, though there have been some rather testy times at the desert buffet.
Speaking of testy times, it has been eye-opening for me, speaking with various people in this tour group, at how little value people place on the banking services they rely on.
Intellectually, we all know that people don’t value banking services and can’t understand why there can be any justification for fees. But it is astonishing to watch this in action.
Let me relate one (of many) situations I’ve come across whilst here.
Earlier in the week, a group U.K. tourists were complaining about the fact that they’d been unable to access cash (Egypt is largely a cash economy) since there are no ATM facilities on the boat, and most of the temples and tombs we’ve visited are not equipped with cash dispensing facilities. The fact that they’d be spending this cash on tourist rubbish aside (all meals and drinks are included on board), their whole holiday, it seemed, was being wrecked by the fact that they had no access to their funds.
There was evident relief when they related that the boat had been kind enough to give them a cash advance on their credit card, at a measly 5% transaction fee.
Anyway, we’ve just arrived in Luxor where there are plenty of cash facilities. And after the dash to an ATM, I’ve heard those self-same tourists complaining about the fact that they’d been levied bank charges for the transactions they’d just completed. A whole two pounds fifty.
The boat was kind when it charged five percent. The bank was robbing them when it charged a fraction of the amount.
How have we, in the industry, failed so roundly to demonstrate the value we bring?
Note: I am reading and approving comments. However, my periodic Internet access in Egypt is preventing me from writing thoughtful replies. Please accept apologies for any delays.