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Rochester Launches Hospitality-Industry Accreditation Program

April 13, 2016

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Rochester has launched a new hospitality industry accreditation initiative focused on hotels, restaurants, retail, and transportation companies to enhance the experience of patients, visitors, and community members.

The Rochester Convention & Visitors Bureau (RCVB), Mayo Clinic, and Destination Medical Center (DMC) have partnered to develop the Experience Accreditation program, a first of its kind hospitality initiative in the state of Minnesota.  "This accreditation initiative marks an important milestone in recognizing businesses who provide the highest quality customer experience," said Brad Jones, executive director of the RCVB. "This program will promote high service standards and unmatched hospitality in our city. It is a valuable step forward in making Rochester an even better destination for patients and visitors with positive benefits for Rochester residents," said Jones. 

Businesses awarded accreditation have met standards developed by leaders from local hospitality businesses and organizations, related to customer service, staff development and guest satisfaction.  Specific accreditation requirements differ by business type and can include timely responses to visitor concerns and employee training through the national Certified Tourism AmbassadorTM program.  Additional requirements include restaurants offering menu options to meet the dietary needs for a variety of people and hotels displaying the RCVB's destination guide video in guest rooms. Businesses awarded Experience Accreditation certificates include Scheels, Posh Boutique, Hers, Twigs Tavern & Grille, and Homewood Suites by Hilton.

Michael Smith, Director of Operations, Doubletree Hotel, says Experience Accreditation is valuable for hospitality industry businesses and emphasizes the important role they play in making Rochester a world-class destination.  "We are proud of the accreditation standards that we developed. We are always looking for ways to enhance the guest experience in our hotel and our city, and this program is intended for that very purpose," Smith said.

Experience Accreditation aligns with Mayo Clinic's strategy to provide a seamless patient experience.  "We know that patients and their traveling companions spend 70 percent of their time in the community, and 30 percent of their time receiving care at Mayo Clinic," said Sandhya Pruthi, M.D., Medical Director, Patient Experience, Mayo Clinic Rochester. "Having the best possible service at all touch points is imperative for the approximately 3,000 patients and companions who visit Rochester daily for Mayo Clinic. This level of service throughout the care and healing journey is in the best interest of the patient."

With Mayo Clinic at its heart, the vision of DMC, the largest economic development in the state of Minnesota, is to create welcoming and engaging experiences for patients, visitors and community members. 

"Experience Accreditation is an important partnership with Mayo Clinic, the RCVB and DMC which demonstrates how we are building on our shared success and actively collaborating to position Rochester, Minnesota as the world's premier destination for health and wellness," said Lisa Clarke, Executive Director, DMC.  

The Experience Accreditation program is one of several integrated initiatives designed to enhance the visitor experience in Rochester. Other supporting initiatives include an Experience Dedicated Destination survey that measures the experiences of Rochester's visitors as compared to other cities, a confidential Service Remark Portal tool that collects feedback from visitors and patients about Rochester, and the Certified Tourism AmbassadorTM program, which helps front-line hospitality staff provide exceptional experiences to patients and visitors.

Hospitality businesses can apply for accreditation at any time. Several additional hospitality businesses have submitted accreditation applications. Accreditation must be renewed annually.

For more information about Experience Accreditation or to view a list of accredited businesses, visit www.experienceaccreditation.com. Contact Mary Gastner, mgastner@rochestercvb.org or
507-424-0819, for assistance in coordinating an interview with one of the newly accredited businesses.  

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