Globalisation and advances in transport technology have brought something new to the table for all service providers: millions and millions of foreign potential customers. The hotel business is one of the most competitive markets where the battle for customers is in full swing all the time. Nowadays, hotels need to really fight for their foreign guests and the easiest way of doing that is to offer added value.
Whether we are talking about hotel web pages, guest check-in forms, hotel restaurant menus, signs, terms & conditions or recreational activities brochures, it is always good to offer guests services and information in their own language, so they can fully understand. But bad translations can actually do more harm than good, so it is always best to invest in hiring professional translation services. Here’s why:
Bad translations cause customer confusion and dissatisfaction
If you have ever travelled abroad and was offered a Mixed sea food Iraq government office surface or Chicken rude and unreasonable, you already know that bad translations cause a lot of confusion. Examples like the ones above can be funny at first, sure, but how many guests would actually decide to use such a service? I know I wouldn’t.
Confusion by itself is not the worst thing that could happen to hotel guests, but the problem is that confusion quickly becomes something much more dangerous for hotel owners: customer dissatisfaction. With so many options available to customers nowadays, even the slightest dissatisfaction can lead customers to decide to never return.
Bad translations drive customers away from spending more money
It is not just the revenue from accommodation that foreign customers bring in, it is also the revenue from all the additional paid services such as meals at the hotel’s restaurant, laundry services, parking, Internet, bicycle rentals, printing services, beauty treatments, room service, pet services, transfers to/from the hotel, conference rooms and similar. The potential for additional earnings is huge, but foreign guests are often reluctant to use these services if they cannot fully understand them and are not professionally presented.
Investing in having your documents professionally translated costs more than using other free or cheap available options. However, this will bring increased credibility of the hotel, therefore this investment has an amazing potential for a return that is much greater than the initial cost. On the other hand, a clumsy translation will have the opposite effect.
Bad translations hurt the reputation of hotels
In general, there are two types of hotel guests. Guests who are extremely price sensitive and always choose the cheapest hotels, and guests who are ready to spend more money to get additional comfort. The latter are usually hotels’ favourites, but if hotels want to be the latter’s favourites too, they certainly can’t afford to have poor translations of their documents. Bad translations give hotels an air of cheapness and severely hurt their reputation among the higher-class visitors. And, once the reputation has been hurt, it takes a lot of effort (and investment) to make it better again.
Bad translations cause conflicts
Bad translations can lead to misunderstanding about what guests might expect from a hotel and about how guests are expected to behave during their stay. Misunderstandings in these two crucial areas often lead to conflicts among customers and hotel staff, and conflicts are never good for the business. They do not only hurt those who are directly involved, but may also hurt other guests in the process, demotivate staff and create a tense environment with a great potential for further conflicts.
Bad translations work well, but for the competition
Bad translations that hotels provide for their foreign customers are just like advertising – but unfortunately, advertising that works for the competition. Such translations thus have two negative sides: they make all the effort (and money investment) futile and they even drive potential customers to other hotels. Bad translations of hotel documents can severely hurt a hotel’s position on the market, so it rarely pays off to be cheap in this area.