Ready or not, our community is a cog in wheel of the global economy. Local businesses sell their products via the Internet to consumers located far and wide. And, individuals sitting at home, in far off places, are planning a visit to Lake Tahoe utilizing tahoechamber.org and tahoesouth.com. In recent months, these websites have had visitors from Italy, Brazil, Mexico, India, Hong Kong and the Philippines.
With summer approaching, it seems like a good time to think about how we might capture more of this global marketplace and how best to prepare for the foreign visitor and online shopper. Some things are just common sense, such as providing exemplary customer service. This can be done by striving to understand cultural differences and exhibiting a careful and helpful approach to assisting customers no matter the language spoken. Many suggestions of this type were made by two speakers at the recent Annual Tourism Forum. A recap of these suggestions can be found on the chamber’s website.
And it goes without say that ensuring websites have a language translation mechanism is a must. With the advent of translation apps, we all can muddle through the translation process when traveling. But it is always so refreshing when one stumbles upon an attraction that has translated its interpretive panels, or provides their information in a variety of language handouts. Nothing makes a meal more relaxing than the availability of a menu in your native tongue in order to avoid ordering the eel when you wanted chicken. Should you want to translate your materials consider hiring a translation firm such as Adapt Language Services right here in South Lake Tahoe.
European, English, Canadian, and Far Eastern visitors appreciate a small kettle and tea bags in their room upon arrival. As a Canadian gal with English roots, I can attest to the fact that tea made out of one of those little coffee pots tastes just awful, and so too is the case with coffee urns of hot water used by some restaurants. Far Eastern visitors also like tea with their meals and greatly appreciate side orders of rice being available.
Personally I find traveling to other communities and countries the best way to broaden my horizons and increase my understanding. Thus it is with great anticipation that I share with you the limited availability for a trip to Cuba in February 2014. The chamber has arranged for 10 to 14 people to experience a people-to-people cultural exchange and I can think of no better way to heighten our awareness! If you are interested in joining us, please send me a note, or better yet, call.
Happy trails to all no matter where you may be traveling to this year and please bring home your newfound wisdom and share it with us all!
Betty “B” Gorman, J.D., B.S., A.C.E., is the president and CEO of TahoeChamber.