Leaving Moscow – Thoughts On Doing International Business | travellaenet.ga

Today was my last day of training the fine folks at WorldMark Corporation/Oil Technology Overseas here in Moscow, Russia. Although this was not my first international training mission, it is certainly one of my fondest. The reason is that in a relatively short time (6 weeks) I have acclimatized myself quickly to a new culture, gained valuable insight into my business and most importantly, have forged strong, deep friendships with people that I KNOW I will see again.

International training (or travel for that matter) is not for everyone, and although I am not trying to make myself out like a hero I will say that I do have the right personality and characteristics for extended travel. What might they be, you ask?

I believe first and foremost that you have to be able to suspend judgment. We all are ethnocentric – we see the world through our own values from our cultural upbringing. When abroad it is essential that you have an open mind and even a curiosity for things that are not familiar to you. Can you have a frank but still polite discussion with others on the deadly topics of politics, religion or other taboos in society? Will it end in an argument or a smile? Will you risk sacrificing a fat business contract for the sake of your ego or worse yet, the beliefs of older generations?

Also I believe that when traveling for business you need to have a sense of humour. Bad things may happen. Things that were promised might get modified. The question here is can you handle a little turbulence? If all in all you are involved in with a great company then I am sure you can negotiate respectfully. Pay attention to things that were given that were not promised. Do things balance out in the end?

Lastly I would like to say a business traveler needs a love of language, as language is indeed a window to the culture itself. Even when visiting a country for a short time you should learn at least a few greetings and expressions. It is the quickest way to start to understand your new friends and business partners. Not just their words, but their intention behind the words, and also why they do the things they do that may seem strange to you. In today’s world of internet access there is no excuse why you cannot download a few pages to study on your way there or shortly after you arrive.

Well I could go on perhaps listing other important characteristics of an international traveler but for now I think I have hit the few critical characteristics near to my heart.

As I head back to Canada tomorrow I will be smiling, thinking of the good times I have had both personally and professionally, and although I miss my home and the people there I cannot escape the feeling that I will soon miss Moscow just as much.
Thanks for the memories.

Travel Opinions – Key Influences on Tourist Decision Making | travellaenet.ga

As I sit in the lounge of the backpackers meeting up with travel companions, I am thinking that maybe I should have done things differently. Let’s head back to last night, where I was searching through several brochures and deciding on the next day’s activities. The brochure had photos of beautiful vistas and described the tour as natural and exciting. I was finding this hard to envisage as I looked through the photos on my digital camera of the towns and continual souvenir shops we had visited, without enough time given to enjoy the sights before being hoarded onto the bus with a group of unlike minded people.

My friends, however, had the time of their life. They are babbling to all who will listen about the day they had, swimming with dolphins and taking a harbour cruise, the sights, the excitement. I can’t help but be a little jealous….may even put a little more chilli than needed in their food to quiet them down a little. I have saved a lot of money for this trip and it’s taken me a long time to get here, so it is important for me to make the right decisions and enjoy myself the best I can. If we rewind to last night and the plans we were making, the only difference is that my friends used a well respected travel review site which provided honest and independent opinions about various activities and attractions, as well as accommodation. After having several options planned, they found that one particular activity had consistently great reviews and decided to go with them. Next time, I will do the same.

This is becoming an increasingly familiar scenario in the process of tourists and holidaymakers making their decisions about what activities and attractions to visit, as well as accommodation choices. Those in the tourism industry are realising that holidaymakers and business travellers are going online in increasing numbers in search of information and advice that can be used in the selection of travelling options, as well as reducing the consumer decision set for activities, attractions and accommodation. With this knowledge in hand, the growth of internet based travel opinion and review sites devoted to the discussion and evaluation of travel and tourism offerings has become evident. Adding to this emerging trend is the remarkable credibility associated with web travel reviews by potential guests and customers.

Findings from the Regional Visitor Monitor confirms that New Zealand travellers are increasingly using the internet to not only book tourism related products, but to find consumer and industry reviews and opinions to assist them in the decision making process. Additionally, a key finding in research conducted by Lincoln University investigating the decision making of international tourists while travelling in New Zealand, suggested that social networks are to play a vital role in tourism marketing. The report emphasised that there are many decisions which remain open, such as choice of activities and daily purchasing decisions, which may be heavily influenced through their use of social media and internet sites that contain and promote New Zealand travel opinions and reviews.

Tomorrow, the travelling friends have decided to take a trip together. No surprise that it is based on the suggestions and opinions from a reputable tourism review site, is it?