Your guests from Thailand are accustomed to work and leisure time merging smoothly into one another. After a day at the office and at the weekend, they will expect to go out to dinner together with you as well as do things together. They don’t want to spend their time alone in their hotel room. Please keep the days that your Thai delegation is with you free in your calendar!
Depending on the hierarchy level of the expected guests, you should either have them picked up at the airport or meet them in person. When a delegation from Thailand arrives, make sure that they are welcomed by people on the same hierarchical levels as them.
Take your guests from the airport to the hotel, where they can have a hot meal should they want one. If Thais are not treated to good meals, you should not expect them to be interested in any business meetings. By the way, this is true for the whole duration of their stay!
Thais are very hierarchy and status-oriented. Show them how much you value them by providing special comforts 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 Thai guests and ensure that the transfer between the hotel and the company is comfortable. You can either send a driver or book a taxi.
Of course, you should take your Thai guests out for dinner in the evening. 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.
Also, Thai people are not necessarily used to having a large piece of meat on their plate that has to be cut with a knife and fork. Light dishes with poultry or fish, which can be eaten simply with a fork, are a better option. Thais usually eat with a fork and spoon.
Thai people are not used to the western order of appetizers, main course and dessert. It is, therefore, best to order many different dishes so that they can taste a variety of dishes and explain the special local specialities.
An elaborate cultural and sightseeing program will be appreciated by your Thai visitors. Of course, you and your colleagues should also take part, because it is above all an opportunity to deepen the personal relationship that is so important for business success.
As far as time planning is concerned, your guests would like a rough agenda for guidance, but make sure to keep the exact time schedule open and flexible. Be sure to allow plenty of time for hot meals and shopping.
No matter what you have planned, always follow the Thai principle of sanuk: Be happy together and have a good time.