Black Meetings and Tourism

May/June 2012

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TOEMBRACE DIVERSITY QUESTION:WHAT IS…HOSPITALITY? ANSWER:THE PASSION BY VICTORIA HEAD Dr. Jane Allen Petrick, vice president of Informed Decisions International, a premier source in the field of Organizational Psychology, teaches the importance of aiding customer service interactions by under- standing one a n o t h e r 's emot ions , feelings and p r e c o n - ceived mind- sets, espe- cially as they pertain to various his- toric and cultural dif- ferences. With over 30 years utilizing these methods,Dr. Petrick has helped corporations such asMotorola, IBMandThe Behavioral Science Research Corporation, improve their customer/client interactions, execute better team building and demonstrate swifter/more effective task accomplishments. I asked Dr. Petrick to define Organizational Psychology. She explained…"Organizations are groups of people that get together to get something done, i.e. a Board of directors,Mother's Against Drunk Drivers, an international travel service, etc. Psychology is the study of behaviors, attitudes and emotions exhibited by peo- ple to better understand and anticipate their actions and subse- quent detriment/success when they come together. " It is estimated that within 30 seconds of a person seeing some- one, judgments are made and opinions formed based on what's on the outside. Once the individual opens their mouth, it is human nature to then add on real data as to their possible intentions. Sometimes our fundamental filters are so strong concerning what we see and relate to past experiences, that we don't hear accu- rately what is being said. Dr. Petrick knows how imperative it is to make travel professionals aware of these thought processes, so they don't react in an offended or hostile way in similar situa- tions. She goes on to explain…"Perhaps a travel professional is contacted by a potential client via email, regarding their serv- ices and following a period of online communication, decides that they should talk. Once the phone conversation ensues, it is apparent that one party is African-American and the other, Caucasian with a heavy Southern accent. Because of previous training in Diversity Psychology, one party relays to the other, "Hmm…you sound like someone who lives in a place where they know the secrets of good ole southern comfort food." Now, since the two have connected on their similarities and acceptance has been extended, both individ- uals' hesitations are eased. Successful companies are seeing that professionals with training that can quickly access these situations and follow through with positive and professional behavior are vital in the areas of customer satisfaction and repeat business. With travel and tourism being such a competitive industry, there is significant competition for guests, groups and associa- tions to select one tour service, venue or destination over anoth- er. Dr. Petrick believes that to be successful in today's hospitality and travel market, ones understanding of the word "hospitality" is essential. Webster defines hospitality as – "The cordial and generous reception of guests socially or commercially. " When a guest or potential client experiences true hospitality, they feel wonderfully and generously received; they want to communicate their pleasurable experience with others and seek out opportu- nities return. For guests to feel sincerely received, they must feel accepted for who they are, regardless of race, religion, gender or orientation. For a tourist or traveler to find a tourism professional that displays a passion for meeting their clients' needs, who's educat- ed in various cultural ways and demonstrates a willingness to accommodate, tremendously increases customer satisfaction. Clients that feel their uniqueness is only tolerated and not wel- comed won't come back. As a tour operator, consultant, college professor and professional speaker, Dr. Petrick enables hospitali- ty professionals to understand that diversity (race, gender, age group, work style, education, marital status, where they were born/grew up) encompasses the differences that make us all unique and the commonalties that connect us; diversity includes everyone. Having assisted organizations worldwide in diversity competence, Dr. Petrick invites you to send your workplace questions to her at or visit her web- site at Black Meetings & Tourism May/June 2012: 63

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