Cultural Inspiration on Service

By Roberta Nedry President & Founder, Hospitality Excellence, Inc. | June 22, 2014

Aloha! Kia Ora! Hey y'all! Bienvenidos! Bienvenue! Saa wee da ka or Saa wee da krap! Welcome! What happens when these words of greeting from different cultures are uttered? What do we associate with those greetings and the people in those states or countries who say them? How do they impact us emotionally and do they change the way we perceive and receive our experience in that place?

Cultures around the world have many insightful and practical traditions and styles that can benefit a service mindset and in turn enhance service delivery. Let's take a look at certain cultural traits and their potential impact in today's hospitality world and guest experience management.

Consider how hospitality and business leaders and their teams may adapt some of these cultural traits and examples to benefit their own teams in guest and customer interactions. Note how these examples may serve as inspiration and motivation for a stronger service culture and more engaging guest experiences.

The Spirit of Aloha: The Hawaiian Style of Hospitality

I had the opportunity to live in Hawaii as a young girl. While there, I studied and performed Hawaiian dancing which required me to be completely immersed in and part of the Hawaiian culture and in turn the Aloha spirit. My teacher showed me how to tell stories through my hands, my eyes and body language in each dance that she taught. I learned first hand how Aloha is a way of life, an attitude and an authentic style of communicating from the heart. Thinking back to those moments and talking to those who experience Hawaii today, there are strong applications for that Aloha spirit in today's service environment. This Hawaiian way of thinking offers unique insight into a way of interacting with others that touches emotions and leaves lasting memories. Aloha is a word that means so many different things in the Hawaiian culture including hello, welcome, good bye and even love, compassion and friendship.

According to Aloha International in an article by Curby Rule, within the root words that make up Aloha the following meanings are:

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Eco-Friendly Practices: Corporate Social Responsibility

The hotel industry has undertaken a long-term effort to build more responsible and socially conscious businesses. What began with small efforts to reduce waste - such as paperless checkouts and refillable soap dispensers - has evolved into an international movement toward implementing sustainable development practices. In addition to establishing themselves as good corporate citizens, adopting eco-friendly practices is sound business for hotels. According to a recent report from Deloitte, 95% of business travelers believe the hotel industry should be undertaking “green” initiatives, and Millennials are twice as likely to support brands with strong management of environmental and social issues. Given these conclusions, hotels are continuing to innovate in the areas of environmental sustainability. For example, one leading hotel chain has designed special elevators that collect kinetic energy from the moving lift and in the process, they have reduced their energy consumption by 50%  over conventional elevators. Also, they installed an advanced air conditioning system which employs a magnetic mechanical system that makes them more energy efficient. Other hotels are installing Intelligent Building Systems which monitor and control temperatures in rooms, common areas and swimming pools, as well as ventilation and cold water systems. Some hotels are installing Electric Vehicle charging stations, planting rooftop gardens, implementing stringent recycling programs, and insisting on the use of biodegradable materials. Another trend is the creation of Green Teams within a hotel's operation that are tasked to implement earth-friendly practices and manage budgets for green projects. Some hotels have even gone so far as to curtail or eliminate room service, believing that keeping the kitchen open 24/7 isn't terribly sustainable. The May issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to integrate sustainable practices into their operations and how they are benefiting from them.