Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio.
San Antonio became the latest destination to join the Certified Tourism Ambassador program, in which hospitality industry professionals throughout the region are trained to enhance the attendee and visitor experience. The program was launched by the San Antonio Convention and Visitors Bureau on October 30.
The CTA program puts frontline, customer-facing service and hospitality industry workers through its c curriculum, which provides training focused on raising the quality of customer service and increasing knowledge about San Antonio and the region.
The idea of the program is to inspire service and hospitality industry workers—from hotel managers and restaurateurs to taxi drivers and volunteers—to turn every visitor encounter into a positive experience. Because one bad experience at an airport or in a taxicab can taint an otherwise great trip to a destination. The CTA program is administered by the Tourism Ambassador Institute, which is run by Mickey Schaefer and Associates, Tucson, Ariz.
More than 110 CTAs have already been certified in San Antonio, with commitments from major hotel properties, attractions, restaurants, and more. “I’m sponsoring our hotel employees to be some of the very first to become certified,” says Robert Thrailkill, general manager of the Hilton Palacio del Rio. “Having CTAs on staff will be a powerful differentiator for visitors to our hotel,” adds Thrailkill, who is also the chairman of the San Antonio Convention & Visitors Commission. Visitors and attendees will recognize CTAs by the gold star on their lapel.
“The rich history and vibrant culture of San Antonio guarantees an authentic experience that convention and meeting attendees are sure to remember, but it is the people of San Antonio that really make a difference in delivering that experience,” says Casandra Matej, executive director, San Antonio CVB.
The CTA Program is a nationwide certification with more than 8,500 ambassadors located in 15 states. Offering more than just training, the certification is a year-round effort that promotes continued learning and engagement through an annual renewal process.