English Lakes Hotels has become the latest hospitality firm to sign up to the European single currency.
The five-strong group, which includes the 99-bedroom Low Wood hotel in Windermere, has opened a euro bank account with NatWest, ready to accept payments from 1 January 1999.
"We want to offer the facility to some of our group conference customers," said group accountant Michael Doyle. "If they prefer to pay in euros, then we have got the facility."
He thought the option would appeal to large companies in the UK with strong connections with the Continent, and also to Europe-based suppliers likely to want to invoice in euros: "We see that as more and more likely to happen as time progresses."
Individual guests from the USA and the Far East might also want to pay in euros, Doyle speculated. "We have been talking to our bankers about a credit card system for euros," he said, "but we probably won't introduce that until later in 1999, if the need arises."
Although the UK has not signed up for the first wave of the euro, 11 countries have. It becomes legal currency for paper and electronic transactions from 1 January 1999, with notes and coins to be issued in 2002.