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  -  Culture Ready   -  Industry insights   -  Industry insights – Roman Lee-Lo
Roman Lee-Lo – The Rees Hotel

Importance of cultural awareness.
Using visitors’ own language in marketing and communication.
Adapting the product and marketing for visitors needs.
Little things to make visitors feel at home.

My name is Roman Lee-Lo and I am the Director of Operations here at the Rees Hotel in Queenstown.

I think culture is really important in, you know economic activities that we have especially with you know the routes that we travel to or that our airlines go to. For example to South America, to Asia, and I believe Korea is coming up. So yes, you know, we as custodians of our culture need to be open-minded and welcome those visitors with open arms, and you know showcase what New Zealand is renowned for. A genuine warm friendly Kiwi service.

We have predominantly focused on China as well and places like Singapore and Korea. Our strategy is that, our GM also does international sales and marketing going to those different markets, meeting the agents, talking to them, presenting to them, training them on the products that we have here in Queenstown. And also New Zealand benefits as a whole. We provide all of our fact sheets as part of the marketing collateral in different languages.

We have translated in Chinese Mandarin, we have it in Spanish, we have it in Korean, we have in Vietnamese, we have it in French. And so various languages which has always been part of our strategy from day one. Keeping in touch with the different markets and providing those collaterals so that they can understand the products that we offer.

Our website is also in various languages, which is Japanese and Mandarin Chinese. We have over 23 nationalities on our teams, so there is diversity there as well, and we call upon our team to say ‘hey look we’ve got a guest that has some language barrier difficulties’ and they can help the guest. So it’s you know we all benefit.

Other things that we do at the hotel as well which might you know come across as small but they do make a difference in the guests experience. For example, you know we do provide Asian breakfast as part of our offering which is, we provide things such as Asian condiments which is congee for breakfast. We have miso soup for the Japanese.

We have had halal groups come through, and we’ve been able to ensure that there’s no pork for example. You know purchasing new cutlery and crockery so that we can ensure that they feel at home. Look, traditionally in hotels do provide Bibles but you know it is important to acknowledge old cultural differences we have an area that people can go to do their worshiping.

We provide prayer mats so that they can do their worship and all of those little cultural intricacies that make their experience a bit more at home when they come to our hotel. So those are the little things that we are quite proud of and that were from our perspective that really defines what cultural intelligence is.

Is being able to cater to what is a comfort you know to those visitors that we have here in New Zealand and at our hotel. These things don’t really cost a lot of money. It does all you need to do, do some research on the background of those visitors. What are the important things to them when they are traveling you know. Whether it’s a prayer mat for our Muslim guests, whether it’s congee soup, you know that doesn’t cost a lot of money.

But when we do those things it demonstrates that we are going over and above the call of duty. We are not just providing a bid, we are providing comfort, the comforts of home because That’s what they have at home.

You know we live in a diverse society there’s always someone that we can, you know talk to your friends, talk to the people that are from those countries and ask them what do they want, what does it really matter to. Or what matters to those people when they’re traveling, but is what is important to you.

It’s all about providing a personal personable experience, warm and friendly service.

And at the end of the day that’s all that matters, is feeling safe, feeling secure, and you know at the same time enjoying the beauty of New Zealand, and especially Queenstown where we live.

Industry insights – Roman Lee-Lo