Readers of two popular US meetings and travel magazines – Business Traveler and Global Traveler – have once again voted Seoul as the “Best International Business Meetings Destination” and “Best MICE City” for 2015. South Korea’s capital city has won the title for the fourth consecutive time ever since awards in the category were introduced in 2012. Also, according to a recent study Seoul has continued to make its mark and maintained its place in the world as one of the top five convention cities.
The awards for Seoul have come at a time when the city is successfully striding towards continuous growth, and expansion of its services and infrastructure for business events. The city has grown tremendously and even become more competitive in the past year. Among the recent additions and services include entry of new hotel brands like the Four Seasons, customized city tours for event participants, and rechargeable transportation cards.
If you are a business traveler planning to visit Seoul in future, then here’s a complete business travel guide that will keep you updated about the city.
Seoul is quite vast, much beyond your expectations. The city is very crowded. It’s indeed huge, approximately 10 times the size of Manhattan. It is considered to be the largest proper city in the developed world. If you are a time-sensitive business traveller going for meetings, which especially involves crossing the Han River, then you need to have a lot of buffer time (about 30 to 60 minutes to be on safer side). Most of the travellers are ignorant about the fact that an express train runs every 30 minutes from Incheon International Airport. It will drop you at Seoul Station, north of Han River, near the Myeongdong business hub. The trains though usually remain quite empty because most business visitors either have little information or don’t know about it. Airport limousine buses are also another convenient means of transportation to get to any destination of your choice from the airport. Cabs can also be hired but they are rather expensive. Taking the train will be a good idea, particularly during morning and evening peak hours.
Finding addresses and directions can become frustrating due to the language barrier. The addresses of buildings next to each other can simply confuse you as they can be completely different. Try getting the address written or printed out in Korean and then hand it over to taxi drivers so that they can input the address in their GPS system. This will help you to reach the right location. In case if you feel completely lost then immediately call the city’s help center at+82 2 120 for assisting you in various languages, including English.
Always make it a point to stay in a hotel based on your meeting/event locations. You will thus avoid the transit times of up to 90 minutes to two hours to cross the city during peak hours. You will find best hotels in famous business hubs such as Yeouido, Myeongdong, Samseong, Gangnam and Gangbuk.
When meeting with a client, exchange business cards reverently, bowing and shaking hands at the same time. If a meeting is being held over a meal with several persons, lay out their business cards on the table in front of you so that everyone’s name and position can be remembered while talking to them.
Keeping some of these important things in mind will help you a lot in knowing Seoul beforehand and also some of the business etiquettes as well.