Following up on last week's report on the problems Switzerland has been having with the franc's exchange rate, Travel Agent spoke with Alex Herrmann, Director North America for Switzerland Tourism, about the situation, which he acknowledged was challenging for Switzerland. Still, he noted, exchange rates fluctuate quickly, and things could improve rapidly.
"Also," Herrmann said, "the exchange rate per se doesn't give a full picture of the value of services, like accommodation or travel or tour-related services. It's a number, but it doesn't mean that it makes everything more expensive."
If clients are balking at a Switzerland trip because of the exchange rate, Herrmann encourages agents to point out the value of the experiences. Gratuities, VAT and breakfast are frequently built into the cost of a room, and tips and tax are already included in restaurant prices. While Americans might be accustomed to adding in extra factors for a final price, in Switzerland, the price on the menu is exactly what they'll pay.
"Look at all of these items instead of the exchange rate," Herrmann advises. "They should focus on value and on other aspects to get the full picture. These are things that people forget."