The Wall Street Journal has an interesting report in its managing section on how a California based company, Teknovus, has set itself apart in terms of understanding its overseas customers. The article could be interesting for hotel practitioners for a couple of reasons. Teknovus adopted a simple formula to bridge gaps in understanding caused by diverse. The company "required new overseas hires to spend time in the U.S., and he
encouraged U.S. employees to call their international counterparts
often" as part of an effort to "build mutual understanding (and) learn about different customs, and the reasons for the differences."
While hotel employees and management simply cannot travel to diverse countries to gain an understanding of cultural differences, there are other ways to mimick what Teknovus did for its staff, domestic and international. That could include cultural sensitivity training that address customers preferences of overseas customers based on marketing source codes. Knowing the foreign language in question obviously is a big help particularly for some customers from the far-east with limited knowledge of English. That can help get over self-limiting measures as these in this Japan based hotel.
Another interesting aspect that can be gleaned from the article is the fact that companies such as Teknovus clearly endorse the primacy of international travel over the frequently touted alternative, video-conferencing, a medium, that has oft been touted as limiting hotel stays as this recent survey seems to suggest.