Maine Woods Tourism Training Initiative
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The Maine Woods Tourism Training Initiative was created by the Maine Woods Consortium to deliver a comprehensive, multi-modal training program to meet educational needs expressed by tourism businesses and their employees in the Maine Woods region. MWTTI began by organizing county networks of public and private training providers in Franklin, Piscataquis, and Washington counties and expanded in 2010 to include Aroostook, Oxford and Penobscot.
Since MWTTI began in 2010, county training networks have organized 73 workshops for local tourism businesses. Approximately 795 people attended these workshops, representing 439 businesses with 248 tourism specific businesses. Trainings primarily addressed topics including customer service, social media marketing, and Know Your Region training.
To help overcome the barriers that prevent small businesses from attending workshop training, the MWTTI Planning Team collaborated with the Maine Small Business Development Centers in 2010 to create a free basic customer service online workshop. To take this a step further and offer a more advanced training module with a certificate of completion, the Center for Tourism Research and Outreach at the University of Maine Business School partnered with MWTTI to develop Welcome ME (pronounced Welcome Maine). This free, high quality web-based customer service training focuses on the important components of delivering quality service and creating memorable experiences for customers.
County networks are currently planning a next round of trainings for the spring. To learn more, contact Shaunacy Cobb at PlaceWorks Consulting – email@example.com and (207) 779-6355, or a member of the Maine Woods Consortium Coordinating Team.
- Social Media for Small Businesses & Organizations involved in Tourism
May 16 from 5pm to 7pm in North Dining Hall C at the University of Maine at Farmington. Matt Rideout, Interactive Marketing Manager at Nancy Marshall Communications, will present this workshop. Participants will learn how to use social networking to reach new audiences for your business or organization. Matt will offers tips and techniques to maximize your use of social platforms. Light dinner is included. Registration fee is $25 first registrant and $10 for each additional registrant from same organization or business. Registration ends May 3. For more information or to register, contact Sierra Medling at (207) 778-5887 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Know Piscataquis County: What is there to do around here?
May 22 from 3pm to 6pm at the Piscataquis Higher Education Center in Dover-Foxcroft. Join us for a lively presentation by freshly trained folks from your community to help you become an expert on your region’s assets, learn answers to visitors’ questions and enhance your customers’ experiences. Refreshments will be provided. Registration fee is $5 per person. Please register by emailing Janet Sawyer at email@example.com.
- Advanced Customer Service Training for Frontline Staff
May 16 from 1pm to 4pm at the Skowhegan Community Center and May 22 from 1pm to 4pm in The Forks at Northern Outdoors. Kathleen Lewia, Kennebec Valley Community College, will conduct this training on the following topics:
o Learning to have patience, self-control and empathy when dealing with customers.
o Turn complaints into opportunities to grow your business.
o Turn high maintenance customers into lifelong customers.
o How to fix mistakes with customers.
Registrants are strongly urged to complete the Welcome ME online customer service training program and to bring their certificates to the class. Registration fee is $10 per person or $25 for a single business sending 3 or more representatives. To register, contact Patte Bowman at (207) 474-7553 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- ServSafe® Food Safety Manager Training
May 15 and 16 from 8am to 4pm at the Washington County Community College in Calais. This food protection manager training is for staff at local eateries who need to become ServSafe® certified to comply with state law.
This training covers:
o The Importance of Food Safety
o Good Personal Hygiene
o Time and Temperature Control
o Preventing Cross-Contamination
o Cleaning and Sanitizing
o Safe Food Preparation
o Receiving and Storing Food
o Methods of Thawing, Cooking, Cooling and Reheating Food
o HACCP (Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Points)
o Food Safety Regulations
The training fee is normally $145 per person but a $50 scholarship is being offered bringing the price down to $95. Fee includes the textbook and 16 hours of training. Registration required by May 9. To register, call Will at (207) 255-0983. For questions, contact Jen at email@example.com.
- Putting It Together: How to Build Itineraries & Packages
April 24 in Caribou. Presented by the Maine Office of Tourism. Today's travelers expect more from their experience with you than just a place to sleep or a meal to satisfy their hunger. To provide superior customer service, tourism businesses of all types need to be able to help travelers discover Maine in new and meaningful ways suited just for them.
In this workshop, you will learn:
o How to create and suggest itineraries for different types of customers either in advance to use in your marketing efforts or on the spot for great service.
o We'll also build innovative packages and specials that draw new customers and keep the existing ones coming back.
o How to increase your revenue and profits by developing a menu of experiences that will differentiate your business.
o Through hands-on activities, you'll identify potential partners and walk away with specials and packages ready to sell.
By the end of the session, you'll worry less about getting your piece of the pie and be focused on making the pie bigger by working collaboratively with other businesses in new and innovative ways. The session will also include a personalized demonstration of how to use VisitMaine.com to market your business for FREE.
- Getting Ready for Motorcoach
April 24 in Caribou. The motorcoach industry is ready to expand into Aroostook. Are you ready? Margaret Hoffman from the Maine Office of Tourism will do an informational presentation on the motorcoach industry and how you can prepare your business to be motorcoach friendly. Come learn how to attract a new kind of tourist to your business.
- How to use email marketing effectively & the basics of Constant Contact/MailChimp
January 29 in Bethel. Shannon Kinney from Dream Local Digital will conduct this training. Just having a website and/or a Facebook page is no longer enough, you need to remind your customers that you exist. Email marketing is low cost, simple, measurable and generates sales for your business. It's one of the easiest and least expensive ways to keep customers and prospects coming back. Learn how to target your customers; create, send, track and manage your emails; and grow your email list using Constant Contact and MailChimp email marketing systems.
- FREE "Know Your Region" workshops
March 26 in Patten and East Millinocket. Donna Fichtner, Adjunct Professor at Husson University and longtime tourism training specialist in Maine, conducted these trainings with help from local experts.
Do you and your staff know how to respond when your customers ask, "What's there to do around here, anyway?" At this workshop, you will learn how to:
o Keep Katahdin area guests in the neighborhood longer
o Help visitors leave more $$ here (and at YOUR business)
o Give guests a reason to come back for more adventures.
- Working Forest Bus Tour for Hospitality Workers: Help your guests appreciate Maine’s working forest
May 13 starting at the Moosehead Marine Museum in Greenville. This tour is for guides, lodging personnel, and other tourism-related workers interested in learning how working forests work. On this tour you will see a wood harvesting operation that uses sustainable practices and modern equipment. Then, you will “follow the wood” to Moose River Lumber to see it processed using high tech machinery. This tour is designed to help you enlighten your guests, enhance your customers’ experiences, and increase your value and bottom line!