“The Rugged Nature of Our Existence Brings Out the Bold Nature of Our People”
Cara Rose of the Pocahontas County Convention and Visitors Center enlightens us about their new hospitality training Initiative to ensure visitors to the county experience a consistent welcome based upon our mountain culture.
Cara, can you tell me about the Mountain Culture?
“Yea, Tim, we’ve been promoting hospitality training here in the county through a state-wide program called West Virginia Welcome for the last eight years” said Rose. “It’s really important for us to cultivate that because the tourism industry really is the economic driver for Pocahontas County.”
“We have developed a new program called ‘Mountain Culture.’ We were looking at different ways to enhance our hospitality training programs, and came up with some new strategies on how we provide outreach to visitors, employees and the broader community about hospitality. And one of the ides spawned from the core values that Snowshoe has in place at the resort = a guiding set of principals about who the resort is, who the employees are and what they represent to the visitors and to the guests. We also were curious whether anything like that had been done anywhere else around the country. So, we did some research, and not many places have embraced a broad concept like this on a county level. It’s a little easier to control the messaging when you have a resort and a set of employees. In our particular case, we’re talking about making it an initiative throughout the entire county, So we knew what our criteria was, we knew we had to reach out to those different kinds of businesses and individuals. So we put together a small team of leaders around the county to develop this initiative. We came up with ‘Mountain Culture.’”
“We’ve made it very simple. Something that will be easy for our business partners and also out employees to embrace and be able to implement. We developed a motto, which is ‘Mountain Culture -Our Heritage, Our Future.’ We also developed our credo, which is: ‘Pocahontas County West Virginia is a wild and wonderful place where our Guests enjoy warm hospitality and a relaxed, exciting and fulfilling experience, and where the genuine care and comfort of our guests is our number one priority.’”
“So, these are some core values of mountain culture. People tell us all the time that we are very friendly. People come here because we are friendly; and they return because we are friendly. We did develop out core values to support our mountain culture, and those are ‘Hospitality’, ‘Pride’, ‘Knowledge’, ‘Enthusiasm’ and ‘Keep it Clean.’”
Ultimately, it’s a way to message to employees who are encountering guests and visitors and customers. We are offering signs free to all of our business partners. Every business in Pocahontas County, I hope, will value this new initiative of Mountain culture, and put up the signs. My office is providing those signs free of charge, they are very nicely done.”
“Part of what this initiative does is to allow all of us to be proud of who we are -that we do live in the mountains, and we do have a culture that we cultivate. The rugged nature of our existence brings out the bold nature of our people to be genuine, strong, inviting, helpful and attentive to the needs of neighbors, friends, and visitors alike. We open our doors to visitors, and we help visitors and we smile when they walk in the door.”
Cara is offering training about this new initiative to both businesses and the public at various places around the county. You can find a schedule of these at the end of this story, or you can contact the Convention and Visitors Bureau at 304-799-4636 for more information about this initiative and these trainings.
Schedule of Upcoming Hospitality Presentations By Cara Rose
- November 12th: 10 am at the Marlinton Wellness Center
- November 14th: 1 pm and 3 pm at the Linwood Library
- November 20th: 10 am at the Green Bank Observatory and at 2 pm at the Marlinton Wellness Center Cara will offer “Tourism Talks” –which is the regular CVB Educational Series.
- November 27th: 1:00 pm at the Wellness Center.
- December 3rd : 11 am and 1 pm at the Linwood Library.