Benefiting from International Interactions

The greatest challenge associated with overcoming cultural barriers is first understanding what they are. Culture is made up of the norms, values and ways of life of a particular society. Cultures vary along a number of dimensions, and the greater the difference between these dimensions, the greater the risk of miscommunication.  Is your business prepared for an increase in international visitors?

For example, let’s say you run a tour organization and have a tour arranged for group of 8 people. You have a tour guide out with the group and midway through the tour your guide phones you distraught and tells you the following:

“Throughout the tour a few of the guests have been standing abnormally close to her, invading her personal space. She’s tried adding distance but they move closer at times even touching and pushing her slightly. At the same time she complains that while she is presenting to the group, certain people continue to talk extremely loudly, preventing other guests from hearing her. She’s tried announcing a few times that it is important to be respectful during presentations and she even paused at times to indicate those speaking should stop, but they don’t! Now they are at the rest stop and only 60% have returned at the designated time even though she explicitly told the group there would be a short bathroom break after which they would be moving to the next destination.”

What are the issues? What do you do?

With the anticipated increase in the number of international visitors coming to Ontario, it is important that organizations, and teams, be prepared to effectively engage and provide customer service to a diverse range of guests.

How to cater to the international visitor market?

Create an Action Plan
  1. Plan – gain knowledge about the potential client demographic (cultural norms, values and ways of life)
  2. Train – provide in-depth, engaging training to all team members on how to effectively provide service to new customers
  3. Implement – roll out changes and analyze impact
Check out OTEC’s diverse range of training solutions for more information related to preparing your business for international visitors and how to provide customer service for diverse customers. 


Paula is OTEC’s Coordinator of Marketing and Communications. She works closely with OTEC’s President and CEO, Victoria Behune, on marketing and branding projects and to promote OTEC’s programs and services. Paula enjoys travelling and learning about different cultures, primarily through their food. 


Posted: 3/12/2015 11:30:18 AM by Paula Lanza | with 0 comments

Blog post currently doesn't have any comments.