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Providing hotel staff a key to Portland tourism

Visitors really depend on the local knowledge of their hotel staff once they arrive in Portland. So we recently took hotel guest services employees out for a Lodging Familiarization Tour. 

The modern traveler relies on a number of research tools before visiting a new city. Google research leads to Best of and Top Ten lists, TripAdvisor reviews help verify popular restaurants and attractions, comprehensive lists are made, and then a battle plan of where to go is created.

Think back to the last new place you visited. Who were first local people you actually interacted with? Did they give you the insider scoop about the real places to check out?

It might have been your hotel courtesy van driver from the airport or train station, the valet who parked your car that you drove to town, the nice folks who greeted you at the front desk of the inn, or the amazing concierge who helped you get seated at the hottest new restaurant in town.

They were in the know about where to go and what to do, and they shared that information with you.

We thought it was important to show local lodging staff here in Portland more about what we do, and also to allow them to see the local producers that their overnight guests love visiting. So we recently put together Lodging Familiarization Tours and offered complimentary seats to many local hotels and inns.

Guest services staff from Portland Harbor HotelHilton Garden Inn, Hampton Inn, Chebeauge Island InnThe Westin Portland HarborviewInn by the Sea, Black Point Inn, and Courtyard Marriott all took advantage of this offer.

Some of them fill roles in management in guest services or food and beverage. Others are front desk or reservations staff. More and more hotels have recently been filling concierge positions (a trend we are excited about). We also didn’t forget the valets and the shuttle drivers, they were invited to hop on board too.

These tours visited three of our local producing partners on a full scale Maine Brew Bus tour. The attendees all met at our official home at Craft Beer Cellar Portland, where they were able to learn about the partnership we have there. Zach was able to talk a little about starting our company over three years ago. Our friends ate the famous vegetarian hand pies from our bakery partner Ten Ten Pié. They got to know each other on the bus, played rousing games of trivia, and generally had fun while learning about the businesses and sampling the locally crafted alcohol.

In most cases, once arriving at each stop the hotel staff were able to hear directly from the brewery and winery owners and their unique perspective in the tourism business in Portland.

In this slower time of year, it was a good way for some of the hard working hotel team to get out and play tourist for an afternoon. They now have first hand experience with our tour and our partners, and also can better talk about the energy that can be found in the tasting rooms around Portland.

And we think that improved local knowledge will ultimately help the over 4 million people that visit Portland, Maine each year.

We wish to thank management from these local properties who allowed their staff the time to take this tour, often while still on the clock.

Also a very special thank you the owners and staff from Maine Mead Works, Rising Tide Brewing Company, Allagash Brewing Company, and Foundation Brewing Company for helping to make these tours possible.

Here are some pictures from these most recent outings, click through to see them all:

Are you part of the team at a local hotel, inn, or B&B? We would like to invite you to participate in future Lodging Familiarization Tours. Or perhaps you like to know more about our Lodging Affiliate Program? Either way contact us today for more information.

Don Littlefield is the Assistant Principal of The Maine Brew Bus, a title he recently had to explain to a magazine editor who was on a fact-checking mission. Much of this post was prepared at Brew Bus HQ, so a Sebago Bonfire Rye was enjoyed while it was written. Twitter: @BeerinME

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