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VCB and partners can turn stressful situation into chance to shine

February 5, 2014
Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

To the editors:

It's no surprise that Mother Nature often makes wintertime air travel unpredictable. The snowy, arctic cold this month underscored the impact of cancelations and delays. Couple that with increased traffic to The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel during the peak tourism season, and you have a recipe for a busier-than-normal airport and potentially stressed-out travelers. But Mother Nature's wrath provides Lee County with an opportunity to shine when industry partners and the Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau work closely together.

We can help de-stress wintertime travelers with two important tools: up-to-date and specific information about our destination's assets and committed volunteer Tourism Ambassadors who staff the visitor information booths at the Southwest Florida International Airport.

More than 120 men and women volunteer their time to help travelers day and night at RSW. They answer questions and provide information on everything from car rentals, flight status, airport transportation, area accommodations, local attractions and events. They deliver superb customer service, and if they are armed with the right information, they can instantly turn an angry, stressed-out traveler "stuck" in our community for an extra day or two into a relaxed visitor who can soak up the sun and our beautiful environment for just a little longer. The result is not only a happy tourist, but a potential return visitor.

To do their jobs as effectively as possible, they need your help. Our Visitor Services team needs to know about your distressed traveler rates, your deals and your special services or amenities. What do you offer that can help a visitor solve a problem or feel pampered, appreciated and cared for? Whether it's airport shuttle service, personalized concierge assistance, equipment rentals for children and others or free transport to shopping areas, Visitor Services wants to know so they can help travelers have the most positive experience possible in our destination. The more detailed information they have, the better they can answer traveler questions and connect them with properties or activities that will make their extended stay enjoyable. I encourage you to email or call Judi Durant and her team frequently with specific information about your property, attraction or business. You can reach her at or 590-4855. The information you provide just might help ease a traveler's stress levels and generate new business for you.

The same goes not just for travelers impacted by winter travel challenges, but the thousands of visitors who travel to Lee County by air over the peak tourism months. For travelers who have not done a lot of pre-planning, the more information the VCB volunteer Tourism Ambassadors have, the better they can help visitors plan their most enjoyable stay in The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel.

Please share information about your business today. Let's continue to work together to maximize the impact of exceptional customer service to generate the all-important repeat travel to our destination.

Tamara Pigott

Executive director




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