Hospitality training put to use across Virginia's Blue Ridge

More than 8,000 workers are eligible for a new hospitality training course

ROANOKE – Workers across the Blue Ridge are taking part in a new hospitality training course. The classes started last month and are expected to last throughout the year, focused on people who interact with the public on a daily basis.

The new classes focus on customer service training and regional tourism, giving visitors the information they need to enjoy the Roanoke Valley and the experience to make them want to come back again.

The heaviest focus is on customer service training, which takes up about 70 percent of the workshop. Local employees will learn the best methods to interact with customers, both local and those who are just visiting the region.

The information about regional tourism will take up the remaining 30 percent of the workshop. Trainees will learn more about the resources that are available in the Blue Ridge-- whether it's finding a new restaurant to try out, taking a hike they've never heard of before or other little-known attractions.

Pat Walters, with the Taubman Museum of Art, was one of the first local employees to attend the training. She says she was born and raised in this area, but learned a lot of new information during the class.

"In my mind, it's important that we're all giving the same message and all have the same wealth of information to work from," says Walters.

The courses are being put together by Visit Virginia's Blue Ridge and Virginia Western Community College to develop the curriculum and resources.

The next course will begin on June 22 at 8 a.mRegistration will be open at 7:45 a.m. For more information, contact Jenna Phillips, jphillips@visitvbr.com