Developing effective communication strategies for the Spanish and Haitian-Creole-speaking workforce in hotel companies

Po Ju Chen*, Fevzi Okumus, Nan Hua, Khaldoon (Khal) Nusair

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The aim of this study is to explore effective communication strategies for Spanish-speaking and Haitian-Creole-speaking employees in hotel companies. Design/methodology/approach: A case study approach was employed. Three employee, focus group interviews and semi-structured interviews with 12 managers were conducted in a resort hotel in Orlando to elicit critical factors related to effective communication strategies with Spanish-speaking and Haitian-Creole-speaking employees. Findings: It was found that the case study company mainly communicated with its employees through daily meetings, daily written information (e.g. hot sheets), wall postings, e-mails, and periodic monthly/quarterly meetings. It was found that bilingual employees often worked as unpaid translators and assisted their colleagues. Spanish and Haitian-Creole-speaking employees felt that not being proficient in English hindered their promotion opportunities. Differences were observed among English, Spanish, and Haitian-Creole-speaking employees in terms of style of communication. Some native-speaking employees seemed to refrain from communicating with non-English-speaking employees unless they communicated in English. Haitian-Creole-speaking employees spoke to other employees about only work-related issues. Originality/value: This is one of the first studies looking into communication strategies and challenges for Spanish and Haitian-Creole-speaking employees in hotel companies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)335-353
Number of pages19
JournalWorldwide Hospitality and Tourism Themes
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Communication
  • Cross-cultural
  • Haitian-Creole
  • Hospitality
  • Spanish language

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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