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Cultural Inspiration on Service

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Cultural Inspiration on Service
By Roberta Nedry, President, Hospitality Excellence, Inc.
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:
“alo” –meaning sharing and in the present
“oha”- meaning joyous affection, joy
“ha” meaning life energy, life, breath
Mr. Rule notes that using Hawaiian language grammatical rules this translates to "the joyful sharing of life energy in the present" or simply "Joyfully sharing life". What a wonderful approach to training people in hospitality or any service delivery environment! When guests or customers come to a new destination, a new property, a new restaurant or a new attraction, they want to share life in a way different than the place they just left which is why they came. They want to make a connection. They want to feel the energy of the place they have chosen. They want to have joy or other positive emotions as their reward for choosing that location.
Taking this line of thinking even further, in 1973, Serge Kahili King conceived ‘The Aloha Project’ as a way to join people together in a spirit of Aloha based on the wisdom found in Hawaiian philosophy and culture and focusing on physical, emotional, environmental, mental harmony. Again, great application for any hospitality environment as creating experiences that yield physical, emotional, environmental and mental rewards are the ultimate goal to engage and delight guests. The key is understanding how to trigger these applications and this spirit in employees. Employees need to “feel it” too and have that same joyful energy in sharing life experiences in the places they work along with the people they serve. alt text
Applying the Aloha spirit Debra Cooper, Principal of Fresh Connect
Solutions, receives a Hawaiian Lei while on business in Florida
Many islanders witness mainlanders coming to the islands with hectic and overworked demeanors. Hawaiian locals call it “mainland attitude.” Once exposed to the Hawaiian lifestyle, slowing down and opening up to that spirit of Aloha, the transition happens and they don’t want to leave. Even the simple gesture of a Hawaiian lei, a handmade ring of flowers, usually plumerias, makes locals and visitors alike feel so welcome and so happy. Imagine how hospitality leaders and their teams could apply the Aloha spirit to inspire a similar transition in guests so they don’t want to leave either, may stay longer, spend more and can’t wait to come back. Say Aloha to a service culture that starts from the first point of arrival through every moment until departure. Welcome a powerful guest experience management strategy.
Kia Ora! New Zealand Style
When I landed in Queenstown, New Zealand last year, something felt different, even in the airport. Students from the Queenstown Resort College were there to greet me and other attendees and delegates for the 60th International Congress of Les Clefs d’Or Concierges. They welcomed us with “Kia Ora” which I soon learned was a Māori language greeting meaning, “be well and healthy” and serves as an informal “hi”. It is also used as a farewell and a thank you, similar to Aloha. It was that feeling of “informality”, that “hi”, tinged with an authentic interest in my well being that introduced me to the New Zealand style of hospitality from the first moment. Even with an unfortunate mishap with lost luggage, that spirit of caring beyond the procedural issues of locating my baggage was evident with the Air New Zealand baggage team. They reflected genuine interest in my arrival, not just the logistics of my lost items. Jonathan McNay of Limousine Line Queenstown provided my transportation from the airport to the hotel and showed tremendous pride in being the first person to introduce me to the beauty of Queenstown. He shared little anecdotes that he thought might more strongly connect me to the New Zealand experience. Jonathan showed that informality combined with authentic interest for me to be well during my stay. Checking in to the Crowne Plaza Queenstown, the friendly greetings continued with the front desk team, the early and late bar staff and a personal greeting and welcome from General Manager Reinier Eulink and Chef Concierge Fiona Lawson. Each of these touchpoints continually reinforced that Kia Ora spirit and a feeling that each of the people in these different roles cared. It was so consistent. alt text
Mayor of Queenstown, Vanessa Van Uden is pictured with
Roberta Nedry, President, Hospitality Excellence, Inc.
Mayor of Queenstown, Vanessa Van Uden, told me that they had spent a lot of time uniting the Queenstown hospitality and retail community in that caring feeling. When locals see visitors or guests taking photos, locals are encouraged to ask if they can take the photo so the entire guest party can be together. Little proactive gestures like that reinforce that the whole culture cares and that it’s not just about tourist or hotel dollars, it’s about a feeling of welcome and that each individual experience matters.
That spirit of caring about the experience and informal friendliness continued on a visit to the neighboring village of Arrowtown, a historic gold mining town. First a purchase of longhair cow boots at Woolpress Arrowtown on Buckingham Street, allowed me to meet owner Bruce Gibbs, who carefully explained the store’s environmental commitment to the area along with where my boots were made. A visit to Betty’s Liquorstore to purchase Zumwohl, a New Zealand made German-style Schnapps, resulted in meeting Brendan who promised to research ways for best enjoyment and followed up almost immediately with an email of recipes. That extra effort, the extra interest, that extra bit of caring about MY experience continued in each shop I visited. alt text
Fiona Lawson, Chef Concierge and 10 year member Les Clefs d’Or,
Crowne Plaza Queenstown, Roberta Nedry, Hospitality Excellence,
Bruce Gibbs, Owner, Woolpress Arrowtown
Even when I was leaving and worried about some extra baggage, Jochen Wauters, Event Manager from Sole Events, jumped in to help me and called airlines to ensure I would have an easy journey back to the United States. He even followed up by phone to make sure I was comfortable. I left Queenstown and New Zealand feeling so emotionally rewarded by a culture that seemed to care about me being “well” every step of the way!
Each hospitality and business environment can apply a Kia Ora approach when orienting, training and inspiring employees in a service excellence philosophy and in turn, culture. Service does not have to be formal; it can be as simple as “hi”. And, when everyone in the experience is oriented to that culture, whether it be “Kia Ora” style or something else, the consistent reinforcement of that culture yields amazing positive results and reactions. Service cultures start with caring which then leads to making a commitment to certain types of behaviors. Those behaviors lead to making a connection and those connections lead to engagement. Engaging guests is what will lead to the emotional rewards that lead to the business and bottom line rewards of guest loyalty, positive reviews and referrals. Committing to that mindset and then training employees and teams to deliver the behaviors to support that mindset are essential for that cultural impact.
In Malcolm Gladwell’s “Outliers”, he introduces the cultural impact of the paesani culture of southern Italy, which was transplanted to the hills of eastern Pennsylvania in the town of Roseto. Gladwell introduces the study done by physician Stewart Wolf and sociologist John Bruhn, on the “Rosetans”, originally from Roseto Valfortore southeast of Rome, in Italy, and how they defied all odds in their health and social structure. The Rosetans had virtually no or minimal heart disease and attacks, lower death rates, no suicide, no alcoholism, no drug addiction and very little crime. Their fascinating findings stunned the medical establishment by causing them to think about health in terms of “community” and the impact beyond the individual on others—the culture of which they were part- instead of genes, eating and exercise habits. Their concluding statement was that we now need to “appreciate the idea that the values of the world we inhabit and the people we surround ourselves with have a profound effect on who we are.” WOW! Proof that identifying, establishing and inspiring a unifying culture, reinforced by a supportive environment, really works and can lead to amazing results.
On the other hand, without that reinforcement and unified culture, sporadic good moments lose their impact and leave both employee and guest without the positive experience both desire. At a ski resort in North America, celebrations were in place for a historic anniversary. On the day of the anniversary, many events were planned and skiers, dignitaries, guests and employees showed up for the festivities. Resort representatives were positioned all over the area to be resources and celebrants with guests. Guests continually asked various employees about the schedule of events throughout the day and were often met with the response, “we don’t know exactly, they didn’t tell us the details of the whole day”. Amazing. So much work leading up to the celebration and all the events and yet the people on the line were not completely informed or inspired by what was taking place. They did not share the same values of the organizers or feel as connected as they could have been to this important event. These employees were frustrated and left out and then did the same for the guests asking the questions. The culture was not defined or in place which yielded a less than desirable result.
Whether Guests and Employees Hear
“Hey y’all” in the South of the United States (southern hospitality), “Bienvenidos“ in Mexico (festive, lighthearted and genuine), “Bienvenue” in France or Canada (appreciation for the details, elegance and savored moments), “Saa wee da ka or Saa wee da krap” in Thailand (gracious and genuine hospitality), a feeling of welcome, a unique style and a passion from that culture will come across and reveals wonderful examples and applications of how an experience can be defined by a single word or phrase, explained in a way that is meaningful and that reflects an overall philosophy for how to make people feel. Words and feelings that come from a culture, not from a dictionary, developed over centuries, can cause entire populations to change the way they think and behave. This can be a shortcut to craft touch-points and guest experiences that you want in your hotel and organization and can provide creative opportunities to adapt elements of that culture to create unique hospitality cultures within an organization.
Think about what you want your front desk to convey, how you want your food and beverage team to interact with guests, how each department works with each other and what effect the whole organization can have on each employee delivering the experience. Create great excuses to inspire and move employees to deliver unforgettable experiences and to connect to the emotional elements of their role and what it means to others. Make it meaningful to those employees as well.
Take your employees on an emotional journey and travel to new places in guest experience management through some of these cultural inspirations. Inspire your own culture and commitment from top to bottom and inside and out. Feel the passion from shared beliefs and values and pack your bags for success!

Travel Fatigue
This condition, which is caused by a disruption in routine, a low-oxygen environment, and time spent in a cramped space (namely, all the things that characterize a long-distance flight) is not the same as jet lag. Guests suffering from travel fatigue tend to be “south-north” travelers – think of a guest from Buenos Aires coming to Houston, or from Johannesburg to London – and, with only two-three hours’ difference in time zones, can’t understand why they feel disoriented, woozy, and tired, yet not necessarily sleepy, or able to sleep. Many guests who suffer from travel fatigue (which usually goes away within 36 hours of check-in) feel too disjointed to do anything but simply lie down.
Your guests may be unaware of the effects of travel fatigue and blame their sleepless state of exhaustion on the quality of the bed, room temperature, small noises outside the door, etc. Simply asking where they’re from and mentioning “travel fatigue” can help them understand why they don’t feel like themselves – and reduce the chance of them requesting an unnecessary change to a perfectly restful room or suite. The best fix for travel fatigue is to simply wait it out and allow oneself to decompress – i.e., take it easy or find a relaxing distraction until he/she feels “human” again.
Allergies and Hay Fever

There are thousands of different plants, weeds, flowers, and trees growing and spreading their pollen or spores anywhere and everywhere we breathe. Many are found only in certain regions of the planet, and someone on a business trip or vacation is unlikely to know how they could react to “exotic” flora until they’ve checked into your hotel. Although hay fever and common allergies are usually accompanied by sneezing and sniffling, these symptoms aren’t always present, and hay fever-induced hyperactivity or rapid heartbeat can be stressful to a guest who is otherwise healthy. If your guest looks to be in overall good health, and doesn’t know why they don’t feel well, hay fever may be to blame.
You’re not a physician, but you can increase guest awareness by posting local reports on grasses, weeds, and other allergens in the same place that you post temperature forecasts. Consider stocking a variety of antihistamines in your gift shop or lobby to help guests help themselves, and, as usual, have a general care practitioner a phone call away if over-the-counter remedies don’t help. Finally, consider if what’s growing outside your hotel is not only beautiful, but commonly found around the world. Sometimes planting local eco-friendly plants and trees (such as drought-resistant shrubs in California) is counterproductive if they’re not found anywhere outside your region and cause allergic reactions for many people who’ve never been exposed to them.
Air Pollution
Yes, most North American cities have good air quality compared to places like Beijing, Jakarta, or Santiago. However, to someone from a place like Zurich, Auckland, or Dublin, the air pollution in cities such as Los Angeles, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, and Cincinnati can cause eye and sinus irritation and stamina issues for the average healthy, but sensitive individual – and isn’t something your guest can easily adjust to.
Although air pollution is more obvious to people than allergens, you can increase guest awareness of air quality problems by posting air quality indices next to daily weather and allergy forecasts in the lobby. If you’re in a city not known for its pristine air, try to allow guests maximum control over their heating or cooling system so they don’t feel compelled to open the window just to cool down or warm up. Finally, make sure your air filters are changed often, and keep a stash of air purifiers behind the reception desk next to fans or black-out curtains. Cool-mist humidifiers are also very effective for easing the effects of air pollution.
Food Allergies and Dietary Problems
Know how nice it is to find your familiar burger or cup of coffee at a TGI Friday’s or Starbucks down the street when you visit Tokyo, Madrid, or Buenos Aires? Your international guest has their own familiar eateries back home – but unless they’re “McLovin’ it” through life, they’re far less likely to find their favorite in North America than vice versa. Having to eat at unfamiliar places can lead to major headaches for guests who have food allergies, are lactose intolerant (as the majority of the world’s population actually is), or are sensitive to changes in salt, sugar, or caffeine. These uncertainties can have them hitting up the vending machine next to the elevator twice a day rather than going out for a proper meal, or cause them a lot of anxiety in your downstairs restaurant.
If your restaurant serves more than a handful of dishes, have a dietician review your menu and include special symbols for items that contain milk or wheat products. And since unfamiliar spices and seasonings can cause reactions for some people who have no known food allergies, consider training your waiters and waitresses to point these out when taking entrée orders. Finally, since your guest is going to want to eat out at some point, include menus of local eateries in the hotel room so they can go to restaurant websites and look up ingredients before they go out for the evening.
Acclimatization Problems
Traveling from a hot to cold climate, or a cold to hot climate, is often a source of small-talk and humor when checking in a guest from thousands of miles away. But temperature shock can be a serious matter, significantly affecting a traveler’s energy level and leading to dehydration and even illnesses such as sinus infections. You’re not a doctor, and your guest doesn’t expect you to be their nurse – but if someone’s comfort level is clearly being compromised by excessive heat or cold, your informal advice can be greatly appreciated. Common strategies for minimizing acclimatization problems include drinking hot fluids in hot climates, and cold fluids in cold climates; exercising an hour per day outside during the mildest conditions; and not overreacting to the new climate (e.g., sitting in the sauna for two hours to “recover” from the cold, or huddling near the A/C unit all evening after a hot afternoon).
If your room thermostats aren’t set to give guests much control over the settings, then keep both space heaters and fans available all year round, and make guests aware of their availability. Someone from Stockholm or Seoul arriving in Miami in December might very well ask for a fan, and a guest from Delhi traveling to Seattle in May is probably going to hope you have a space heater.
Seasonal Affective Disorder
Distinct from temperature acclimatization problems is another challenge associated with the environment: the impact on the traveler of a sudden change in natural light. A guest from endlessly sunny Dubai to overcast Vancouver may welcome the dramatic change as “exotic” at first, then joke about how the sun never comes out – and a couple days later may fall back to sleep after two wake-up calls, become distant and indifferent, and make two rounds at the buffet breakfast but barely have the energy to pull their suitcase.
Most people are familiar with seasonal affective disorder (SAD), in which people experience significant depressive symptoms due to lack of sunlight. Many sufferers don’t recognize that they have SAD, or know what to call it. If your guest is apparently affected by the “winter blues” and complains about feeling “ill” but not “sick,” you may suggest a room with more natural light (i.e., southern exposure) and keep on hand UV-simulation lamps alongside your stock of blackout curtains. Remember, responding to what seems like a “non-issue” or a souring joke about rain and fog can make a huge difference to a guest’s comfort level and satisfaction – and you’re not “treating” anyone by offering these two simple options.
Verbal Communication Challenges
It’s pretty rare these days to come across a guest who doesn’t have at least a working knowledge of English. However, in North America, consider that English is spoken with hundreds of different accents representing as many different native languages, and your staff’s fluent English may not be understood as well as you expect. For example, a guest from India who learned British English in school may have a hard time understanding a Korean-American receptionist at a hotel in the South, leading to possible frustration on both sides. International business travelers, in particular, take great pride in their mastery of “the global language” and may become upset and embarrassed when they’re not understood.
Train your staff to put things in writing if accents and vocabulary limitations are getting in the way of successful communication. If this isn’t practical, then advise your staff to invite another staff person into the conversation; we all have a slightly different “ear” when it comes to language, and some people can decipher accents better than others.
Fears About Safety
International guests harbor more concerns about their safety in North America (and particularly the United States) than you would expect. Fear of crime, terrorism, and accidents can manifest into sleeplessness and hyper-vigilance, and the guest can come off as irrational, demanding, and even needy. If you have a guest whose questions and behavior demonstrate a real concern about their personal safety, then pointing out the security features of the hotel and parking lot, and any scams or crimes that repeatedly occur within a four-block radius of the premises, is going to be more helpful than telling them they have “nothing to worry about” and that the hotel is in a “good area.” Expensive and run-down neighborhoods sit next to each other in almost every city in the world; your guest is unlikely to hold nearby problems against you, and will appreciate your honesty about when and where they need to be cautious.
Anxiety Over Cultural Differences
Most international guests are well-traveled, and there’s some level of cultural diversity in most countries around the world, but guests – and the people who host them – still have cultural blind spots. A guest from Eastern Europe or the Middle East, for example, may have never met a Native American before they shake hands with your receptionist, and visitors from African countries to the United States or Canada are sometimes frustrated when they’re assumed to be African-American. Cultural differences based on gender crop up almost as frequently: men from religiously conservative countries may be uneasy about interacting with female staff, and many may overcompensate by constantly smiling and being overly friendly to a female receptionist, manager, or maid – leading to awkwardness on both sides.
It’s a lot easier to recognize and accept this type of anxiety than to try to react to it. The less you pay attention to (and are offended by) social and culturally-based awkwardness and faux pas committed by your guests, the more energy they’re going to have to assimilate without being embarrassed or self-conscious.
Confidence Issues
Many international guests (particularly business travelers) have been able to make the long journey to your city, and your hotel, because they are successful, determined, high-performance individuals. You’re more likely to come across the “Type-A personality” among these guests than, say, a tour group traveler from Florida. Your international guest may be a trilingual CEO with a Ph.D., but that doesn’t mean they understand everything about WiFi access or how to work an American-brand air conditioner – and when they’re too proud to call for help, they can grow very frustrated or embarrassed with their own perceived incompetence.
Help your guest help themselves by providing as much practical information as you can, when and where your guest will need it, to successfully navigate. Sure, you might already have an A to Z listing of “how to’s” in a binder sitting on the table next to the bed – but when someone’s flustered, this might be the last place they think to look. Post instructions next to appliances and electronic devices, and consider furnishing pamphlets on state and local driving laws, airport services and terminal info, and embassy locations – three things your international guest usually has to look up (or find out) the hard way. Your guest’s decision to return to North America, and your hotel, will be influenced as much by the success of their trip as the quality of their stay with you – and you can do your part to help them feel good about themselves, and about coming back.
Let us initiate at home by talking, sharing knowledge about the diversity in the world, its richness and contribution to the human race, let us consider a step to enrich ourselves and people around us. Let us create ‘excellence at home’ challenge our knowledge competence to enable us to produce leaders rather just followers.

Think about some of the attitudes, ideas and beliefs that people from other cultures have that are different to yours.…...

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...individual retrieves it and responds. However the message that is sent can be misunderstood in various ways usually this can happens for a number of reasons however cultural influence in the most prominent effector for both verbal communication and non-verbal communication. All heath care professionals need to be understanding, considerate and have patience in order to communicate to other individuals what are native to speaking English and using English terms and customs. Responding to the sent message. Responding to the sent message. Retrieving and understanding the message. Retrieving and understanding the message. Sender Sender Care professionals need to have awareness of and sensitivity to cultural differences when communicating with others. For example people speak a range of languages, use different words, phrases and dialects I different regions of the world and may use different forms of non-verbal behavior to express themselves during individual and group interactions based on their culture. Health care professionals don’t develop an awareness of cultural variations in communication and in interaction styles and presences, communications may be misunderstood or may make no sense at all. Cultural influence on verbal communication. Words. Many people find that that learning a second language is exceptionally difficult and are more comfortable mixing......

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Inspiration

...Jae Lee MLA Theo 201-D21 Short Essay on Inerrancy and Inspiration. While sitting on a bench in a nearby park I was reading the Bible, when a jogger had stopped in the middle of his jog and asked me why am I reading the Bible and do I really think that the words of God has authority. So I answered his first question by telling him that I am a student in a Christian College and that I found my love for God. The second question that he had, I answered him with a question saying whoever might you believe in or what you believe in does it have authority? With that reply I went on briefly and told him that Jesus in my father and he is my savior. He is the one I believe in and the one that sets plans for all of us. Inspiration can be also defined as Approach, influence, a way to help one rise and other things. the purpose of the Bible Inspiration is that it helps one understand or even let one rise from their problems because the father Jesus Christ is there to protect and provide for them. Every writer from the past and every reader till this day have an inspirational story to tell. We all are inspired by God’s word. Through-out the whole Bible there are inspiring passages and verses. But the Bible as a Whole in the biggest inspiration that one needs. “All scripture is God-breath and useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness.” The bible is given by the Inspiration of God. The Scripture is words we need to hear so that we can overcome things in......

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Inspiration and Inerrancy

...What is Inspiration? Inspiration is define in the book as supernatural influence of the Holy Spirit upon the Scripture writers. The dictionary has inspiration defined as the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something; the quality of being inspired; a person or thing that inspires; a sudden brilliant, creative or timely idea and lastly the divine influence believed to have led to the writing of the Bible. The word inspiration is derived from the word inspire which in Greek is theopneustos meaning God-breathed. We have Scripture because God spoke the words. The Holy Spirit moved the writers to record the word of God. Inspiration is receiving the word of God. In a supernatural way the Holy Spirit used man to write the words of God. The Bible was the result of these writings. It is a product of the inspiration given to the writers. God inspired the writers leading them speak and write his words. The Bible is error free as the words are God infallible. It is Gods way of communicating his will for his people. The Bible is the authoritative word of God. Erickson states that there are five types of theories of inspiration. Intuition theory in which the writers possessed a high degree of insight. They were great religious and philosophical geniuses that had great insight on the moral of man. Illumination theory states the Holy Spirit influence the writers of the Scripture. With the help of the Holy Spirit the people will understand the word of God. Dynamic......

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