New Hospitality Super Star Program in Pocahontas County

Cara Rose, the Director of the Pocahontas County Convention and Visitors Bureau shares with us a new program designed to create a more enjoyable experience for visitors to Pocahontas County.

“Well, Tim, I am excited to share with the listeners of Allegheny Mountain Radio that the Pocahontas County Convention and Visitors Bureau this week has initiated a brand new hospitality program” Cara said. “The Pocahontas County Hospitality Superstar Program is a secret shopper program. Each month we will have a secret shopper travelling around Pocahontas County. Their objective is to find a clerk, an employee –someone who is working in a business that interacts with a visitor to Pocahontas County. And if that person exceeds their expectations, they are going to be announced as the monthly Hospitality Superstar for Pocahontas County, and receive a $25.00 gift certificate.  We did have two winners this week when we initiated the program. Jessica Fitzgerald at the Route 39 Stop in Huntersville became our first hospitality superstar, along with Betty McMillion, who works at Dairy Queen in Marlinton. Both of these women exceeded the expectations of the secret shopper and were awarded a $25.00 gift certificate.”

“So we’re very excited about this program. I do think it will be an incentive for our residents who work in the industry. Whether you think you interact with visitors or not, my guess is that almost everybody who works in a convenience store, business, courthouse, wherever it might be. It doesn’t have to be a restaurant, it doesn’t have to be a lodging establishment, and visitors go into a lot of places. And visitors typically ask for assistance. They’re asking for help, they need directions. They might need to know where a nearby restaurant is. They might need to know where a Visitor’s Center is located. They might need a state map. So we feel this is an incentive to people to think twice about how they assist the guest, and become a little more aware that it is very important, it’s very valuable to our destination in Pocahontas County. We’re competing against a lot of destinations now.”

Cara tells us just how important it is to all of us to have tourists visiting Pocahontas County.

“Visitors spend over a hundred million dollars annually in Pocahontas County” said Cara. “And that is a huge amount of dollars being funneled into our economy. So I would suggest that if that were to be taken out of our economy, we would all feel it. Twenty-Five percent of all jobs in Pocahontas County are directly related to hospitality.” And the remaining indirect jobs, almost all of them can still be tied to tourism at some level

Cara explains why displaying good hospitality plays such an important role in the success of Pocahontas County’s tourism economy.

“What our visitor surveys tells is that people come to Pocahontas County because it is beautiful, they return to Pocahontas County because of the people, and we want to reinforce that” Cara said. “we think we have an edge against our competition because we do have really friendly people here. I want to maintain that, and want to really grow that element to our destination because I think it’s really key. The hospitality industry, the tourism industry is really about people and the human touch. You can’t outsource hospitality and tourism, so it really comes down to how we as people of our county help our guests, great our guests. Again, I am really excited about this program, it is going to be a lot of fun for us and I hope for those who win. I am just delighted that we have two new Hospitality Superstars, and congratulations to Jessica and Betty. I think our ultimate goal is to reinforce the value of hospitality and encourage our business partners have their employees participate in West Virginia Welcome, which is the introductory hospitality training programs that the convention and Visitor’s Bureau offers free to anyone who wants’ to participate. And thank you for being great ambassadors for Pocahontas County. And thank you for being great ambassadors for Pocahontas County.

Story By

Tim Walker

Tim is the WVMR News Reporter. Tim is a native of Maryland who started coming to Pocahontas County in the 1970’s as a caver. He bought land on Droop Mountain off Jacox Road in 1976 and built a small house there in the early 80’s. While still working in Maryland, Tim spent much time at his place which is located on the Friars Hole Cave Preserve. Retiring in 2011 as a Lieutenant with the Anne Arundel County Police Department in Maryland, Tim finally took the plunge and moved from Maryland to his real home on Droop Mountain. He began working as the Pocahontas County Reporter for Allegheny Mountain Radio in January of 2015.

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