South Koreans are strongly group-oriented and therefore always travel as a delegation representing their company. Added to this are Confucian values that put the well-being of the guest above everything else. In other words: Your South Korean guests will expect round-the-clock service that includes joint evening and weekend activities. Work flows into leisure time.
Airport and transfer
When your South Korean guests arrive, you should be at the airport and welcome them all personally. If this is not possible, organize a driver. Under no circumstances should you point out public transport to your South Korean business partners!
South Koreans are very status-oriented. Show how much you value them by providing special comfort and service. Choose an upscale hotel and make sure that all their wishes are fulfilled. Book room categories according to the hierarchy levels of your South Korean guests and ensure that the transfer between the hotel and the company is comfortable.
Your South Korean guests will not only want to see your country, they will also want to get to know you as a person. Personal conversations over lunch or before and after the scheduled meetings are absolutely essential. In South Korea, business relationships are primarily personal relationships between the persons involved. Without a functioning relationship level, there will be no successful business.
Similarly, you express your personal appreciation by organizing numerous activities. Typical sightseeing tours are a must, but there should also be plenty of opportunities for shopping. South Koreans also expect to play golf together or attend a major cultural or sporting event.
Of course, you should take your South Korean guests out for dinner. While the interest in local food is great, you should also bear in mind that Asians do not tolerate many elements of Western cuisine well. Cream sauces and other dishes with a high proportion of dairy products are just one example. South Koreans are also not necessarily used to having a large piece of meat on their plate that has to be cut with a knife and fork. Better are lighter dishes with poultry or fish, which can simply be eaten with a fork.
In South Korea, an abundance of different dishes are served on plates and everyone uses them. Therefore, order many different dishes so that they can taste a variety of dishes and explain the special local specialities.
Your guests will have brought you a gift from South Korea. It’s a nice gesture to give a gift in return as a farewell gift. Choose something that is personally meaningful to your guests or something typical of your region. In South Korea, too, small gifts help to maintain a friendship.