Business Travel Agents Tips: Destination Guide to Seoul (PART 2)
15th January 2014
If you read part one of our business travel agents tips on travel to Seoul you’ll now be fully aware of how to get to the city centre and business district from Incheon (ICN) International Airport. In part two we look at some of the issues business travellers face, and how you can prepare yourself to minimise any problems.
Overcoming the language barrier
Business travellers are often caught out by the Korean policy of numbering their buildings based on the date they were erected. This means that two buildings next to each other are often not in numerical order. This can play havoc with attempting to find a location, resulting in both getting lost and arriving late to your business meeting. If you’re travelling by taxi our business travel agents tip is to insist that the driver inputs the address into their satnav, ensuring that the correct location is found correctly first time. To do this it’s essential that you have the address written down or printed out to hand to the driver. Unless you’re a fluent Korean speaker you’ll struggle with the language and you don’t need anything further complicating getting to your destination. If you’re travelling on foot – even if for the end of your journey by public transport – make sure you do your research in advance and print a map with directions. If you still can’t find your destination don’t worry, help is at hand. Telephone the Seoul Help Centre on +82-2-120 for assistance in English.
Our address finder suggestion is just as relevant to finding your hotel, and on this subject one piece of business travel agents advice is key: always stay at a hotel close to your business destination. Seoul is a huge city, and traffic can be horrendous, particularly at rush hour when journeys across the city can take as much as two hours. The last thing you want to do is arrive late for an important meeting, so the closer you can reside to your intended destination, the easier it will be to get there. Once again advanced research is crucial so be sure to consult your business travel agents.
Business etiquette rules business travellers need to know
It’s a cliché these days but business cards are terribly important in Asian cultures, and Korea is no different. It will not be enough to simply bring half a dozen cards with you in your wallet or purse – bring a box full! Everyone you meet will expect to receive a card, both in the business environment and socially, so don’t underestimate how many you will need. The act of card giving is linked to the equally cliché but still as true and relevant today custom of bowing. This act of respect is vital throughout Korean culture and should not be treated lightly. There is an art to delivering and receiving a card, and bowing at the same time, so research is to be encouraged.
A slightly peculiar custom in Korea – particularly to western travellers – is the business drink. Demonstrating that you can drink and hold your alcohol, while simultaneously being able to conduct an intelligent conversation is a sign that you are trustworthy. Other business travel agents tips on this subject are: a person should never pour their own drink; if someone older than you offers you a drink be sure to hold the glass with both hands; and if you pour a drink for your elder make sure you hold the bottle with both hands.
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