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.

  • Thought
    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.

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Coming up in June 2019...

Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.