Within the hospitality and travel industry you will have a lot of international guests visiting, and even working at, your establishment.
Here’s how you can be culturally inclusive and cater for any international guest who visits your B&B…
Be Conscious Of Dietary Requirements
It is important to collect data from your guests and ensure you have a familiar meal to offer them, or know a place to refer them to.
If you receive a predominant amount of guests from one country then it is wise to cater for their preferred cuisine, or at least offer it.
Additionally, many of the world’s religions and cultures have specific food customs. One common example is a guest whose faith prohibits them from eating meat. This is easy to cater for by offering some vegetarian or vegan options.
Listing the ingredients of your items also means customers can see straight away if they are able to eat the dish.
As a cheat, make meals customisable so customers can choose from a protein such as steak, chicken, halloumi, mushrooms, and a side option like salad, chips or rice.
Be Conscious Of Religious Practices And Events
With many religions there are customs attached which need to be followed, even when on holiday.
Consider creating a peaceful, quiet space for practices such as prayer and meditation. This area should be accessible 24 hours a day.
Have A General Understanding Of Your International Customers
Do a little research into the heritage of the people visiting your property.
Here are some surprising customs you may not be aware of:
- In Nicaragua it is common to point with the lips.
- In Latin America they throw their toilet paper into the bin next to the toilet (due to the bad state of plumbing).
- In France, both men and women greet each other with brief kisses to the cheek.
- In Malaysia, pointing with the index finger is incredibly offensive, instead they gesture with their thumb. A good tip is to indicate with the tips of your fingers, keeping your fingers together and your hand flat.
- Tipping is mandatory in the U.S, but in Korea it is insulting.
- For Islamic countries, using the left hand for eating and other activities is considered rude. To be safe use your right hand for greeting, taking money etc.
Train Your Staff
Train your staff to know and recognise different cultural practices. Be sure that they show all your guests respect and are equipped to fulfil any requests they may have.
Ensure your staff use the right tone of voice for each visitor. For example, informative, to the point, communication is more appreciated in the western world but is considered rude by other cultures.
Staff should also be considerate of who they extend a hand to; for many cultures a hand shake is not the usual greeting.
But be sure you and your staff do not go over the top. Instead provide an immersive experience they will appreciate rather than overwhelming them by trying too hard to impress.
Extending a smile and greeting your guests by saying ‘hello’ in their native tongue might be all they need to feel welcomed and return to your B&B.