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Foreign Exchange | Case Studies

Managing the costs of receiving and sending international payments

Founded in 1976, Hotel Barge Luciole is a family run hotel-barge business providing scenic cruising holidays in Burgundy, France, with the vineyards, chateaux, and medieval market towns of the Nivernais Canal and cruising area at its centre.

Always aim to be cost efficient.
Always aim to be cost efficient. When dealing with customers around the world.

Challenge
Costs and Fees associated with receiving and sending international currency payments.

Solution
Currency Holding Accounts.

Result
Complete control over fees and charges for the business and for clients.


The Challenge:   Managing the costs of receiving and sending international payments 

Hotel Barge Luciole is a family run business providing scenic cruising holidays along the Nivernais Canal in Burgundy, France.

The business was founded in 1976 by John Liley, former editor of a leading British yachting magazine and author whose books include ‘France - the Quiet Way’, an exploration of the entire French canal and river system. The journeys that formed the basis for the book inspired John to establish the present hotel-barge business with the vineyards, chateaux, and medieval market towns of the Nivernais cruising area at its centre. Penny Liley joined the business in 1986 and since John’s retirement Penny is now responsible for the overall running of the business with son Will.

“One of the main issues for a small business such as ours” says Penny, “ is that we regularly receive payments in US Dollars and Euros and need to exchange that into local currency before we can send it to our business bank accounts and suppliers in France and the UK. The same issue is faced by some of our clients, incurring money transfer costs when paying for their cruise.”

Penny added, “We had originally managed this through our UK bank with payments received going straight into the account and transfers then made to France. However, this was proving to be costly, as we were being offered non-competitive exchange rates and the transfer fees were potentially eating into profits and affecting cash flow.”


“I have a great working relationship with the Corporate Dealers and the time and cost savings have been vital for us as a ‘small fish in a big pond” 

-- Penny Liley, Owner, Hotel Barge Luciole  

The Solution:  Western Union holding accounts and international payment services

After speaking to Western Union Business Solutions currency experts, Hotel Barge Luciole realised there was a less expensive yet more efficient way to handle these types of payments. By taking advantage of Western Union Business Solutions’ global banking network, they were able to receive and transfer funds directly into and out of their currency account, ensuring they received up to date and competitive exchange rates and no transfer fees.

“For our American clients and agents, it was also really helpful to be able provide them with a bank based in the United States, rather than only offering them an option that incurred charges when sending us their payments in the UK” said Penny.

The Results:  Greater efficiency, reduced costs and increased customer satisfaction

Hotel Barge Luciole have been benefiting from greater efficiency, reduced costs and increased customer satisfaction now since 2014.

“The relationship with Western Union Business Solutions just works perfectly for our business” says Penny. “ I have a great working relationship with the Corporate Dealers and the time and cost savings have been vital for us as a ‘small fish in a big pond’. They are readily available by phone and email and always take the time to explain the current exchange rates, currency fluctuations and how these could impact any payments due.”

Penny added “ I have always found the Dealers to be really personable, and not just individuals in an office…they always have the best interests of my business in mind and have continued to support us during the Covid-19 pandemic and despite working from home, they have maintained their professionalism and quality of service.”


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