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Definition and classification of protocol

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Tourism industry is labor intensive and labor carries several layers of meaning in international tourism. For an international visitor labor is the confrontation with the local culture. Another aspect of labor is its aesthetic representation. The tourism labor is differentiated from other sectors as “aesthetic labor”. Therefore tourism labor’s physical appearance, sight, sound, touch, and smell are all important elements of the interactive service process. This aesthetic value of labor in tourism results a different criteria of selection; elegance and having good communication skills with a good outlook can be as important as technical skills or professional training (Aykaç, 2005: 43-44).

Protocol and etiquette are very old concepts. A protocol is simply a set of rules which have to be followed in the course of some activity (Sharp 2008, 1). Etiquette has connotations with terms such as civility, politeness, know-how of life, good manners while protocol is basically divided into two areas; official protocol and diplomatic protocol. Etiquette or good manners are unwritten laws of the society. In earlier times protocol and etiquette rules were believed to be part of lives of rich people who did not have to work. But developments in cultural level of societies and lifestyles have increased the number of people paying attention to these rules. In reality these rules are not fixed as they change gradually with social and cultural evolution. Customs, traditions, usages, rituals are all subject to change during the time and some people follow new rules easily while others resist and conserve their habits. In modern times societies and cultures are getting closer and new concepts are also becoming part of business life. For example; public relations (PR) has been originally an American invention regarding human relations in business and the concept got universalized. Protocol and etiquette rules may be different in different nations and geographies, but there are many common usages shared in all societies which can ease human relations including business sphere (Serres, 1967: 5-9).

Civilization of a society and protocol/etiquette rules are closely related. A civilized atmosphere is understood by (Öter, 2009: 9):

Hygiene, cleanliness and care: body, wearing, space use.

Silence: home, business, vehicles, street

Politeness, saluting, help

Respect to others

Adjusting yourself to the age, time, place, and atmosphere

Desire and effort to seek the good and the beautiful


Protocol - sets of unwritten guidelines or rules for the conduct of business and business dining and entertaining - is the officially accepted rules about public and state affairs. Etiquette is the socially desired and accepted rules which facilitate human relations.

Protocol, a dynamic concept, is the combination of good manners and common sense. It is an evolving science and its improper use can create international conflicts. Etiquette is a mixture of manners and forms prescribed by custom, usage, or authority. Etiquette is about the correct interpersonal behavior. Etiquette preserves respect for the rights and dignities of other people. Etiquette represents in fact good manners. In today’s life many old customs are blended with less restricted ways. Communicating with others, entertaining, coping with everyday life problems which were once handled by staff are becoming part of individual daily experiences. The entrance of women in daily activities, representation of more cultures in international scenes has changed the way services are perceived. Service people became knowledgeable, and there are certain rules based on old customs which are to be followed in order to reach the goal of easier, gracious living. Proper etiquette is like that of traffic rules. It is not artificial, because it produces practical set of rules. When learned these rules can ease life and save time. Etiquette helps people proceed to important phases of social instruction. Topics related with protocol are

visits and introductions invitation (formal, informal) official entertaining (formal dinners, seating arrangements, formal reception and receiving lines …) ceremonies order of precedence forms of address

proper dressing for professional and social functions


Types of protocol can vary. Most common protocol types are; international, diplomatic, state, palace, political, military, administrative, civilian, jurisdictional, academic, religious, sportive, social. There are protocol rules specific to offices, flags, vehicles, meetings, ceremonies and celebrations, public speeches, correspondence, secretary services, visits, guest reception, clothing, invitation and dinners (Ayturk, 2005: xi-xvi). Protocol is present in every culture. It is important that hoteliers know and practice the protocol for several reasons: to show respect, to avoid embarrassment, to enhance understanding, and to avoid dealing from a weakened position in negotiating. It is important for following actions (Gee, 1994, 262);



Business cards

Names and titles

Dining concerns


2. Etiquette plays a major role in the business world today. Like it or not, good manners in the workplace are often equated with competence in business. To many, sloppy manners equal lack of ability. In the current competitive global economy, new and seasoned professionals must seize every opportunity to favorably distinguish themselves and their employer from the competition (Craig 2009).

A sales process has three basic stages of which are closely related with interpersonal communication. Firstly, the salesperson makes preparations and get ready to meet the customer. Secondly, salesperson meets with the customer and communicates in order to develop the sales process. Thirdly, salesperson concludes the sales process by selling or not the product to the customer.

Customer can buy for different reasons. The behavioral aspects of the salesperson have impact on the customer’s decision as they may be perceived part of the product itself with specialized information (İçöz, 2005: 61). A salesperson careful about the protocol and etiquette rules can have advantages because s/he will be perceived as honest, friendly, kind, serving person.


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