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Travel & Hospitality 09.05.19 BLOG 

Training Multilingual Service Staff Efficiently, Effectively, Consistently, and Globally

Niklas Schlappkohl, Senior Director, Travel Solutions

businessmen creating a plan

Training Multilingual Service Staff Efficiently, Effectively, Consistently, and Globally

Many global businesses, but travel companies in particular, are faced with the challenge of launching programs and products that have been designed in one location but need to be rolled out across multiple destinations. When your HQ is in New York, London, or Paris, but you need to launch in numerous global locations—some possibly as far-flung as the Maldives, Iceland, or the Galápagos Islands—it is critical that you find an effective, but also highly efficient, solution for training your multilingual/multicultural staff, which in turn ensures a consistent brand experience for your customers worldwide.

A few years ago, when I was working on the launch of the first truly global loyalty program for Accor, one of the world’s largest hotel groups, it would have been an insurmountable task to provide in-person training to the thousands of hotel reception staff at hundreds of destinations, let alone in multiple languages. And given the high turnover rate in the industry, it would have required holding multiple sessions a year at thousands of locations.

Instead, we developed e-learning modules that staff could view at any time and from any location. Not only did this ensure an efficient rollout to all global staff, but it made it easy to update course content in the future to reflect the latest program information.

Service is the bread and butter of the travel industry, as well as a critical defining and differentiating factor in the experience for travelers. When Meliá Hotels launched its new Circle by Meliá™ program, which completely reimagined the service approach for international customers, they knew they would need a highly effective, local-language training program for staff around the world to ensure the bespoke program’s success.

Rather than employing repetitive on-site seminars with the inherent costs and logistics of sending trainers to each location, they decided to collaborate with the e-learning group at Translations.com—TransPerfect’s travel-specialized division—to develop multilingual, modular e-learning certifications, with test completion required before the Circle staff could engage with customers.

To ensure maximum learning and retention, the modules were created with a storylike narrative that made the user the main character, less-restrictive navigation, rich multimedia graphics, and interactive maps and games. (Take a look at this previous blog article for more details on how to create an engaging e-learning environment.) So before you start investing in a costly, complicated on-site training program, take some time to consider whether an e-learning program may present a more efficient and cost-effective choice. And when you do, be sure to incorporate the course localization process into your overall e-learning strategy to maximize the learning benefits for your global staff.


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