COLUMBUS - Amy Huggins, Quality Services Control Manager at the Greater Columbus Convention Center (GCCC), has been named the 2015 International CTA of the Year from a pool of 13,000 CTAs around the country. Huggins aims to make the GCCC experience as memorable as a trip to any iconic vacation spot and when she saw an opportunity to improve upon this, she became an early adaptor to the Greater Columbus Tourism Ambassador™ program, which is now the largest in the country at 1,806 active members.
Each year the Tourism Ambassador Institute®, which accredits tourism organizations, such as Experience Columbus, to conduct the CTA program in their respective areas, chooses a top CTA from among local CTA of the Year winners. CTAs are a combination of frontline and business leaders in the tourism industry who are specially trained to provide an excellent visitor experience in their city or region.
Huggins, who has a background in retail customer service and event planning, has worked for the GCCC since 2000. She is responsible for the convention center’s concierges, the information booth and guest services, putting her in the thick of helping meeting and event attendees. She runs these services, answers questions as a frontline employee and measures how people perceive the convention center’s services. When she is not busy helping visitors, she can likely be found sharing her knowledge by facilitating and hosting new CTA certification classes, of which she has 15 under her belt so far.
This passion for continually educating new ambassadors and improving upon her own role as an ambassador combined with her attitude toward visitors to Greater Columbus secured her spot as top CTA in the United States for 2015.
As one of Columbus’ first CTA’s, Huggins’ enthusiasm for the program and her encouragement of others to participate has resulted in nearly the entire convention center staff becoming CTAs. She helps them maintain their status by tracking their recertification activity herself.
“I want our customers to have the epitome of customer service, like a Ritz Carlton or Disney,” says Huggins. “From the minute they pull in our parking garage, I want their whole experience to be amazing. If I see a smile on my client’s face, I know we did well.”
The CTA program plays an important role in unifying the hospitality workforce in Columbus to enhance each visitor experience. Part of the Experience Columbus strategic plan is to constantly be recruiting and training local ambassadors, while retaining the existing force, so they can make it easy for visitors to love Columbus.
“Amy understands the importance of creating an outstanding visitor experience, which is evident in everything she does in her role at the Greater Columbus Convention Center and as a CTA program facilitator,” says Brian Ross, CTA, Experience Columbus President and CEO. “She sets the bar high, which elevates our entire CTA program.”
To learn more about the Greater Columbus CTA program, visit www.JoinUSColumbus.com/CTA.
Experience Columbus is the destination marketing organization for the Columbus region, dedicated to growing visitor spending that is generated by conventions, meetings, trade shows and leisure visitors. Annually, visitors make more than 37.6 million trips to Greater Columbus, generating $8.7 billion in economic impact and supporting more than 71,000 jobs. For more information, visit experiencecolumbus.com.