March 7, 2012 Edition

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Scott Sudduth with the Arkansas Hospitality Association passes out information to Jennifer Midgett (right) of Goin' Postal in Walnut Ridge and Viola Meadows, president of the Clover Bend Historic Preservation Board, during a Welcome to Arkansas workshop hosted by the Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce last week at Williams Baptist College. TD Photo ~ Gretchen Hunt

Hospitality training
hosted by Chamber

Gretchen Hunt

Approximately 50 people attended a Welcome to Arkansas Workshop on Wednesday of last week presented by Scott Sudduth with the Arkansas Hospitality Association.

The Chamber hosted the workshop, which was designed to train individuals who work at businesses or with local attractions on how to greet visitors and how to entice them to spend more time in the area.

"We have an awareness situation throughout the state that needs to be taken care of," Sudduth said. "When people ask what there is to do, the most common answer is 'nothing.'"

Sudduth emphasized the importance of not only knowing what in the community might be attractive to visitors, but also being able to share stories that will make them feel like they are a part of the community.

"Tourism and economic development all goes hand in hand," he said. "The goal is to not only get people to visit, but to get them to re-visit and to get some to move here."

He spoke about the changes in expectations through the years and that successful companies no longer sell products, they sell experiences. Citing Starbucks, he compared the cost of the commodity to the cost of the finished product.

"Starbucks is not in the coffee business," he said. "They are selling the atmosphere. Even if it's a tire shop, customers still want to have an experience."

He said once a visitor or customer has an experience they develop feelings about that experience.

"The value of an experience, the value of feelings is what keeps your value up and keeps people coming back," he said. "People remember 10 percent of what they hear, but they remember 100 percent of what they feel."

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