Tourism experts want local bartenders, hotel housekeepers — even the guy who bike pedals guests on a mobile bar — to use that question to start a friendly conversation with the 10 million visitors who pour billions into the city each year.
Welcome to Memphis, a nonprofit affiliate of the Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau, hopes to bring the city's 35,000 hospitality industry workers into the fold to promote Memphis' history.
They want stakeholders who benefit in all levels of the tourism sector to ramp up their knowledge and enthusiasm for the Memphis area.
After tourists visit Graceland or walk around the Beale Street Historic District, they typically ask anyone they encounter, "What else is there to do?"
That's the quick answer the employees hear when they attend a training series called "Memphis Insider." Welcome to Memphis recently started offering courses to hotels, restaurants, tourist attractions — anyone with a stake in seeing the annual tourism spending rise from the current $3.2 billion.
"The course was built to equip guest-contact workers with a deep base of knowledge about the neighborhoods, sites, food, culture, tourism, and fun to be found here," said Mary Schmitz, executive director of Welcome to Memphis. "It's a crash course in everything that makes millions come to Memphis every year, and a means of making lasting positive impressions of Memphis."
Schmitz spends three days a week talking to hundreds of people who work in front and behind the scenes at places visitors frequent.