How to Optimize Service to International Visitors
By John Hogan Director of Education & Cultural Diversity, Best Western | April 24, 2010
Globalization shows its' multiple faces as international investment brings new industries to some communities and others lose their industrial base when the labor cost is lower elsewhere. Both can occur almost simultaneously in the same region.
In the United States, auto manufacturing was centered in the mid-west for generations and featured only American owned and designed vehicles. The gasoline shortages in the early 1970s opened the door to the smaller, more energy efficient Japanese cars. In the 21st century, there are now German branded BMW plants in South Carolina, Japanese Honda, Nissan and Toyota plants in a number of states and the Korean Hyundai is building a state of the art facility in Alabama.
The textile industry has encountered similar transitions, except that their evolution has moved them from New England to the American Deep South to primarily an overseas market. Today, a handful of mills remains in the Carolinas but many have transitioned to Asia or Latin America.
For today's hotel operators, these changing faces mean staff must learn to address the needs of the business traveler in ways not predicted a generation ago. Understanding and embracing only domestic traditions and practices will open up the North American market to international hotel brands. The new wave of immigrants, initially from India but now expanding to China and Korea, are finding the hotel market to have strong financial potential. Their international awareness and flexibility in catering to the international traveler could give them a clear advantage in meeting the expectations of those travelers.
Perfecting the delivery of business travel service requires: Thought, Planning, Attention and Delivery.
Students attending universities in the United States and Canada less than a generation ago were often categorized officially as "foreign" students, with whatever implication the word meant at that time. In the following twenty years, the term "international" began to be accepted by the academic and general populations as the free market in global business took hold and the cost of doing business decreased in many segments. The erosion of the former Soviet Union as a single entity further reduced other travel roadblocks and both personal and business travel grew exponentially.