The visit of a South African delegation should not be focused purely on work meetings. Your guests will expect you to take a lot of time for them and to take good care of them. From their point of view, a business-motivated visit always also aims at building the personal relationship above all else. A successful stay which includes many meals together and an exciting side programme will lay the foundation for a lasting and successful business partnership.
It is best to pick up your South African guests in person at the airport. Or at least organize a driver and provide your guests with a proper reception when they are later brought to your company.
South Africans have high requirements regarding accommodation. Providing your guests from the Cape with a spartan accommodation might be interpreted as a personal disrespect. When booking the hotel rooms, make sure that you meet the social status of the highest ranked delegation member. Choose the hotel and room category accordingly.
When South Africans travel, they want to have a good time. Therefore, inquire before the visit how they would like the side programme to be designed during their stay. Would your South African guests like to visit attractions or a cultural event? Do they have specific interests and desires? Would they like to taste local specialities? Despite what you may have agreed, you should keep the side programme as flexible as possible. This way, you will also be able to adapt it on the basis on spontaneous wishes.
It is best to clarify in individual cases whether your South African guests would also like to go on a journey of discovery on their own. However, as the host, you should definitely take care of the associated transfer bookings or tickets.
In South Africa, it is common to give guests small gifts. You should therefore provide them with chocolate, local delicacies or high-quality pens as welcome gifts.
At the same time, your South African guests will not want to travel back home without a souvenir. Therefore, allow enough time for shopping. The type of souvenir will vary depending on the person. However, many South Africans will want to buy what is cheaper in your country compared to their home country.
Your relationship-focused South African guests will be happy to accept a private invitation to your home. If your guests have travelled with their family, you should definitely invite them, as well.
You should provide them with an abundance of food at the table. Meat dishes should absolutely be part of the equation. From the variety of dishes, one should be able to see that you have put a lot of effort into pampering your South African guests in the best possible way. The motto: “Love goes through the stomach” can definitely apply to the relationship with your South African business partners.