Harvey Nichols Edinburgh develops training partnership

Wednesday, 02 May 2012
Department store, Harvey Nichols, and Edinburgh based college, Stevenson College, are giving retailers in the Scottish capital the chance to improve relationships with overseas visitors, with a new cultural awareness training partnership.
Department store, Harvey Nichols, and Edinburgh based college, Stevenson College, are giving retailers in the Scottish capital the chance to improve relationships with overseas visitors, with a new cultural awareness training partnership.

Harvey Nichols has partnered with the college in a bid to make the increasing volume of visitors from BRIC countries such as Russia and China, as well as guests from the Middle East, feel more at home in Scotland's capital when travelling to the city on holiday or for business.
Staff from Harvey Nichols together with employees from Edinburgh jeweller Hamilton & Inches will take part in the sessions which will concentrate on increasing inward travel from these emerging global economies.

The organisers said the course will offer those working in the retail, tourism and hospitality industries the chance to learn basic phrases as well as gaining insight into humour and acceptable body language. 

Sarah Donno, the senior lecturer who will be running the eight week programme, said: "With events such as the Commonwealth Games and the Ryder Cup taking place in Scotland in 2014 we are going to see even more tourists flocking to the capital during their visit to Scotland. It's therefore vital that those working in customer facing businesses know appropriate customs and traditions from countries around the globe.
"Within Edinburgh we need to have consistency for tourists, and it's hoped our course will mean that from leaving the hotel in the morning to dining out in the evening, visitors will receive great customer service across the board.

"The sessions will cover an introduction to cultural awareness; looking at visitors' experiences in Scotland as well as how to use gesture and body language in the right way. For example, in some Arab cultures it is not appropriate to look women in the eye, or give change back with your left hand."

The sessions will include visits from Chinese, Russian and Arabic specialists as well as videos featuring overseas visitors giving their views on service in the capital. The bespoke course, which will be held at Harvey Nichols' training centre in Edinburgh, is the first of its kind to offer an introduction to the trio of countries which were chosen due to the increase in tourists from these nations.

Recent Visit Scotland figures show overseas visitors make around 1.34 million trips to the capital each year and spend £538 million. Gordon Drummond, director of Harvey Nichols said: "Edinburgh is world renowned as one of the most beautiful and historic cities on the planet. At Harvey Nichols we are very proud to trade from the Scottish capital and are keen to captivate our foreign visitors and give them the best experience possible.

"China, Russia and the Arab nations are all emerging tourist countries and we receive large numbers of visitors from these countries in the store.
"We pride ourselves in outstanding customer service and the training sessions, which many of our front of house staff will benefit from, is just one of the many ways in which we will continue to make our shopping experience first class."