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If you work in Macon’s hospitality industry, much of the city’s future success is riding on you.

Your knowledge of the city, how you treat guests and your attitude all play a vital role in helping Macon draw conventions and tourists.

The Macon-Bibb County Convention & Visitors Bureau is trying to drive that fact home with its new “I am Macon” program.

If you don’t think tourism is a major industry across Macon, check out these numbers:

In fiscal 2012, Macon had 110 convention groups stay here, resulting in 15,883 room nights at area hotels. Most of the area’s tourism is a result of conventions, and the visits translate into big dollars. According to the United States Tourism Association, a little more than $300 million was generated in Macon from tourism spending -- and $8.54 million in local tax revenue.

At the group’s annual meeting in October, the CVB’s Robin North gave a presentation about surveys given to the area’s tourists, in which 90.6 percent reported that they were satisfied with their stay.

One of the problems visitors reported, North said, was “service was an issue.”

That’s not good for a part of the country that’s supposed to be known for its Southern hospitality.

Through its “I am Macon” program, the CVB hopes to improve customer satisfaction.

It’s designed “to educate the business community about the branding of Macon as a superior visitor and meeting destination,” a CVB news release says.

Hospitality workers in Macon’s restaurants and hotels are encouraged to attend a free, three-hour training workshop to help them become “Macon tourism ambassadors.”

“By giving hospitality employees the tools to great customer service, we hope visitors will get a great experience when they are here in Macon,” Monica Smith, CVB president & CEO, stated in the release. “By attending the program, hospitality employees will become our best resource in increasing visitors to our city.”

The first training -- 9 a.m. to noon Jan. 22 at Central Georgia Tech -- is for invited city leaders and community stakeholders.

Other program dates open to hospitality workers at the college are: 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Jan. 29; 3:30-6:30 p.m. Feb. 5; 9 a.m. to noon Feb. 14; 2-5 p.m. Feb. 27; and 9 a.m. to noon March 7.

To contact Business Editor Harold Goodridge, call 744-4382. 

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