A Cultural Lens


Happy New Year everyone! I hope you were able to enjoy a good break over the holiday season.
I recently returned from a weeklong vacation in Singapore, more specifically Sentosa Island, with my family (minus my daughter who was busy with work!). It had been about 12 years since my last trip to Sentosa and I was amazed at the transformation that had taken place on the island. It was fascinating to see how such a small island is able to cater to different demographics; it is a microcosm of the larger country.
We stayed in the Resort World area of Sentosa. This part of the island has four different hotels; each is slightly different, but they are all clean, fast and efficient. Resort World includes a casino, Universal Studios and, of course, many shops (it is Singapore!). Everything is interconnected and easily accessible. The other hotels on the island are located on the south side, or the beachside. These hotels are very much of the ‘beach-resort’ model. Restaurants and bars are situated along the shoreline, and the clientele are perfectly happy to relax by the sea, get their feet wet and sandy, and take it easy. These hotels were the ‘old-world’ European brands that offer more luxury, but at a cost.
It was clear to me and also plain to see that the two halves of Sentosa were catering to two different demographic markets. Resort World was largely Chinese and Asian tourists and the beachside hotels were largely European tourists. Each demographic had their own particular accommodation needs, and both sets of hotels did a great job to cater to these.
I always enjoy seeing these types of inter-cultural scenarios play out in the real world. It is not only in our interpersonal communications and workplace settings where we see cultural implications at play, but rather in all areas of our lives. The diverse accommodation and lifestyles preferences that different cultures favour were the focus in this particular scenario. For me, this experience highlighted the ever-present importance of the cultural lens. Businesses, like individuals, must appreciate this importance and always be sure to assess their specific market or product within a cultural context.