When foreign business visitors come over to Australia to strike a deal, it is often a requirement of sales executives to entertain their guests in some way during their stay. Although many of the global business community have similar expectations as to what is appropriate, for many younger Aussie executives making sure they don't do anything culturally insensitive can be a worry. In short, the best advice is to stick with something fairly neutral and which doesn't go on too late. Accepting your corporate hospitality can be a chore for an overseas visitor if it goes on too long, especially if they are jet-lagged. What are the other dos and don'ts?
- Do offer to pay for the entertainment. Although your guest may offer to split the bill, you are the one who is home on Australian soil, so it is generally expected that you will take care of charges.
- Do take your guest out to dine. Restaurants should be chosen for their relaxed atmosphere and high-quality service.
- Do see the sights. Many overseas visitors will love the chance to see some of Australia's most famous urban sights, such as the Sydney Opera House or the Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne. Even if you think it is a cliché, it is not likely to be so for a first-time guest.
- Do offer a souvenir. A gift always goes down well, but you should only offer a token item which cannot be misconstrued in any way. Round the evening off with a 'typically Australian' souvenir to help your client remember their trip positively by.
- Do keep receipts. Rules concerning the entertainment of overseas guests exist and you may need your receipts to prove how much you have spent if the Australian Tax Office require you to produce them.
- Don't take your guest to Australian-style eateries that reflect their home cuisine. Avoid taking Chinese visitors to an oriental restaurant, for example, and opt for an Italian restaurant instead.
- Don't stray too far from your visitor's accommodation. Finding a taxi to take them back to their hotel can be problematic if you are on the other side of the city. Stay within walking distance, if this is practical.
- Don't talk business all evening. You should feel at ease making a pitch for your company, but try to shift the conversation into other areas of life, as well.
- Don't drink too much. A little alcohol is okay, so long as you guest is not a teetotaller, but keep a limit on the booze and avoid bars where the accent is on buying round after round. Stick to the more up-market bars.