Tim Hoone, director of Hospitality 101, was host of the annual America’s Wild Rivers Coast Five-Chamber Mixer Thursday night, but he didn’t know a key secret.
He was also named as the first winner of the Chuck Schaumburg Hospitality Award, given by the America’s Wild Rivers Coast Consortium.
“You’ve done so much,” AWRC President Aaron Funk said to Hoone as he announced the award. “You’ve spent so many hours of your life on this.”“This is really an honor,” responded Hoone. “If we can just do a little bit more – using the logo, helping our visitors to have a good time on the Wild Rivers Coast – we can’t lose.”
A noisy crowd of more than 250 people packed the event at Howonquet Hall Community Center in Smith River, where the Smith River Rancheria and Lucky 7 Casino co-hosted the event.
Coming through the door, they were all given a free computer flash drive already loaded with Hospitality 101 information, including Wild Rivers Coast logos and maps, a special Wild Rivers Coast brochure, hospitality and customer service tips, and information about Hospitality 101.
As director of Rural Human Services in Crescent City, Hoone wrote the three-year federal grant to bring the Hospitality 101 program to the region.
In another surprise award for the evening, Alice Hammermeister of Moose Creek Bath & Body in Gold Beach was given Hospitality 101’s first business of the month plaque. The new program is intended to spotlight firms with good customer service.
“We are five chambers of commerce in two counties and in two states who are combing our efforts and resources by uniting, planning and executing together,” Funk said in introducing the program. “This really makes a difference.”
The region’s best economic opportunities are in tourism, he said.
“We need to figure out how best to get people off of Interstate 5 and onto Highway 101,” he said. “If we can send them back with great smiles, wonderful memories and empty wallets, then we’ve done our job.”
Guest speakers for the evening represented the primary tourism agencies for the states of California and Oregon.
Jonelle Tannahill of the the California Travel and Tourism Commission said her agency is marketing the state as a premier tourism destination.
“Our job is to get people to think of California,” she explained. “Your job is to get people to think about all the things that you have in Del Norte.”
Tannahill encouraged people to help provide photos and events for the agency’s tourism Web site at www.visitcalifornia.com.
Scott West of Travel Oregon praised the Wild Rivers Coast Consortium for working together.
“My hat’s off to all of you for really taking the consumer into consideration, for talking to them as one place.”
While he outlined several of the special Travel Oregon programs and efforts, West started with a single suggestion.
“There are a zillion different opportunities out there for marketing,” he said. “The single most important thing is to be members of your local chambers. That’s where it all starts.”