Even the highest-rated companies make mistakes. Whether the culprit is an overcooked steak, a grumpy waiter or a weather-related cancellation, chances are, if you’re providing a service, things are bound to go wrong. You can’t control people’s moods or the weather. But you can take precautions to ensure that fewer mistakes happen and that when they do, your staff know how to respond.

In 2018, the Oregon Coast Visitors Association (OCVA) is offering $30,000 in scholarships for employees of tourism industry businesses who wish to attend Oregon Guest Service Gold, an internationally accredited certification customized to Oregon. The training program is a collaboration between Travel Oregon, the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association Education Foundation and the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute.

“A good customer service experience makes a huge difference for visitors. Not only does it help individual businesses develop customer loyalty; it helps entire communities by building their reputation as a friendly, welcoming place,” says Marcus Hinz, OCVA executive director. “We’re excited to be able to offer an affordable way for businesses to address customer service needs, which was regarded as one of the highest priority needs in our stakeholder survey.”

In late 2017, OCVA offered its first Oregon Guest Service Gold training in Newport. Designed as a “train the trainer” event, the training included 14 prospective trainers from Astoria to Bandon. Many trainers intend to lead customer service trainings for their companies or employers. Some trainers are available to come to partner’s places of business to offer the classes on-site for their employees. About six trainers work for Oregon State University (OSU) Extension Service, and plan to offer customer service trainings to the public throughout 2018. The 4-hour long training offered through OSU will be open to anyone who works in the leisure and hospitality industry: restaurants, hotels, wineries, attractions, guiding and outfitter businesses, tour operators, visitor information centers, convention and visitor bureaus.

The Oregon Guest Service Gold training features stories of real Oregon hospitality employees and tourist experiences. Participants in the course will watch video clips and discuss seven principles and story locations:

    1. Recovery: Turn it around – (Theory Restaurant at OMSI)
    1. Personalization: Provide an individualized experience – (Timberline Lodge & Ski Area)
    1. Knowledge: Be in the know – (Sheraton Portland Airport Hotel)
    1. Passion: Inspire others – (St. Josef’s Winery)
    1. Commitment: Be all in – (Portland International Airport)
    1. Inclusion: Include everyone – (Oregon Convention Center)
    1. Personality: Be yourself – (Travel Oregon Welcome Center)

To view the video introduction and learn more about the certification, go here.

Participants receive:

    • Printed workbook with practice tests and practical ideas for implementation.
    • Test for participants to use to earn their internationally accredited Guest Service Gold Professional certification.
    • Diploma and lapel pin for those who successfully pass the test.

Participants spend time role playing and problem solving typical customer service scenarios. OCVA intends to offer nearly a dozen Oregon Guest Service Gold trainings in partnership with Oregon State Extension Service in 2018. Sometimes sites that we don