How to pull off a cross-cultural event

Businesses today are embracing the international face of corporations, brands and companies. In Hong Kong especially, local planners have a client base that ranges in culture, aesthetic values and interests.

Events must appeal to guests across this variety of cultures and adapt to every client’s priority – be it the decorative aspect, culinary strategy or entertainment. Be sure to keep these things in mind when planning your next international event.

1. Cultural nuances
In Asia, ideas around creativity and etiquette vary from those in other parts of the world. In Hong Kong, eastern and western influences have fused well, but it is important to keep in mind that being respectful and informed about cultural boundaries is paramount when planning.

2. Find a niche
Successful events find something common that can be shared and celebrated among guests. This can be challenging to find when guests from different nationalities have a different sense of humour or idea of what is creative  – but it isn’t impossible. It’s worth taking the time to identify something that all guests will appreciate.

3. Know your client
It is important to know the cultural nuances of your client, and dedicate members of your team who will best be able to assist them.

4. Leverage language
People love to speak their mother tongue; so if you happen to know the basics, don’t be afraid to use it. Clients will feel that they are getting their message across faster and easier.

5. Be on call
Overseas clients are more cautious about hosting events in unknown locations, so greater attention and reassurance is necessary. In the same vein, local clients also appreciate a guarantee that you understand their needs.

6. Teach and listen
Before the event, it is important to educate clients of local customs. Sit down and discuss their experiences of what has worked in the past and what they want for this event, as well as what is customary in the location where they have decided to host.

Yamilette MCano and Mireya Garcia are directors at Maya Events

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