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article imageSmile! Russians learn hospitality before Sochi Games

By Mike White     Jan 24, 2014 in Sports
Sochi - To some throughout the world and in Russia, smiling may come naturally, but as the Winter Olympics approach, Sochi hotel managers are receiving crash courses in how to accomplish the simple task.
Reuters reported that an initiative has been started to teach the managers to smile, partially because of President Vladimir Putin's desire to show Russia's modern face at the $50-billion Sochi Games. Reportedly some see Russians as unsmiling, severe and cold.
The Olympic University in Moscow and businessman Vladimir Potanin have been involved in the training of hotel managers in hospitality. It is expected they will pass that information down to staff members at their hotels.
"Learning how to handle guests from other countries, it's a specialty that we have to learn better - so that they understand our hospitality," said Vladimir Shushkin, a participant in the course and the deputy director of Sochi's Green Grove Sanatorium. It is at the sanatorium that Soviet dictator Josef Stalin's summer home is still maintained to this day.
The Chicago Tribune reported that the Olympic University opened in 2009.
The Guardian reported a U.S. car rental salesman, John Cerry, had memories of unfriendly service in Russian, even though he though the train rides seemed "magical," and some Russians were very warm.
"Service was awful; every time I went out to dinner the waitress would basically throw our dinners on the table and walk away," he recalled.
More about Sochi, Winter olympics, Russians, hotel managers
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