"Since I've been involved in the tourism industry and [have] attended the [Southeast Tourism Society] Marketing College back this summer, I can see the benefit of getting together," Currier said. "There are so many wonderful hotels and attractions here in Cartersville and Bartow County and I think that we just needed an outlet that we could all get together and update each other on what's going on. I've learned when we did the Bartow Business Connection earlier this year that here I thought everyone had obviously been to the Booth and [I] learned that a lot of people hadn't.
"So I just think it's important that our hotel managers and our restaurant managers and owners keep up to speed on what's going on in the community, what special events are going on. With the Rose Lawn festival we just had, that could have been a great opportunity for hoteliers to offer maybe a special rate or when we get ready for our festival and symposium, we want hoteliers to tell their guests there. And we want restaurant owners to tell their guests, so that we can just all kind of work together and know what's going on with one another, so that we can promote our entire community when visitors come in here. ... I'm really excited that Ellen Archer and Regina [Wheeler] and the rest of the CVB staff is willing to help get this started. ... For all of the county attractions and truly the hospitality industry to come together now is going to be beneficial I think in the long run for when LakePoint does come to fruition and we have those several million visitors a year coming through our town. We just want to all be able to promote everything that we have."
At Currier's suggestion, the CVB is expanding their existing offerings, which has included informally meeting with hoteliers to discuss various needs.
"We have had three to four hotels come online, newly constructed, newly built, within about as many years," said Regina Wheeler, deputy director for the local CVB. "When you look at Hilton Garden Inn, Fairfield, Microtel, even Sleep Inn at exit 296 is one of our newer properties, we do have a very diverse industry between our economy and convenient overnight-stay hotels as well as full service and conference center hotels. So that was why we had begun meeting collectively with our hoteliers, to have everyone have a real good understanding of the diversity and the challenges that the CVB sometimes faces in terms of marketing our community. Because we do have to market to the masses and we're marketing a destination not an individual hotel property.
"In doing that we are really building the destination. So it makes good sense in our opinion to begin this hospitality association because all of these facets of the tourism industry, the retail, the dining, all of that is very key to our destination. So we want everyone to have a real good understanding of how we're going to go forward with our marketing purposes. ... as an association everyone will have an opportunity to share, to bring ideas to the table. We are looking for some fresh views and to really better manage our resources because in these times we have to be very selective and make wise decisions. And we think more brains at the table will really help us do that."
Meeting 9 a.m. on the fourth Thursday of each month at different locations, the Bartow County Hospitality Association will be open to representatives of the tourism industry -- such as attractions, hotels, motels, retail stores or restaurants -- at no cost.
According to a news release from the CVB, some of the topics for future programs include "Using social media to increase awareness and highlight special offers; LakePoint Sports overview; Rep. Paul Battles discussing the Tourism Product Development Bill passed last legislative session; See, Shop and Dine in Cartersville (program to help increase visitation to local hospitality locations for a chance to win $100 cash); Overview of the economic impact tourism has on our local economy; And, we will be taking a local familiarization tour to the various points of interest in Bartow County so that we can direct our guests and keep them in Bartow County longer."
For more information, business owners and managers need to call CVB Executive Director Ellen Archer at 770-387-1357.