Each year more than a million people travel to Alaska to explore the state’s beautiful sites.
To support this type of industry, Alaska relies heavily on its frontline employees who greet visitors as they arrive at their hotels and cabins, give them guided tours and serve them everything from a cup of coffee to a reindeer dog.
Their work is so essential that the Visit Anchorage Frontline Tradeshow was created to educate visitor industry employees, such as those in the service and travel industry. They are the ones called upon to answer the most challenging questions such as, “Where can we see bears and moose and then enjoy a nice glass of wine afterward?”
The Trade Show took place May 11, 2017, at the Dena’ina Center and featured more than 70 vendors, several of them Better Business Bureau Accredited Businesses. The event saw more than 500 attendees make their way through the trade show to learn about the different tourist activities available to visitors.
Spiff Chambers, membership and advertising sales manager for Visit Anchorage and the chief organizer of this year’s event, commented that frontline employees work with tourists daily, so it’s important that they “understand the resources available from other members of the community.”
Chambers, a former tour bus driver, said he'd received his fair share of interesting questions from tourists. He’s often asked how tall Denali is, but one tourist asked how much it weighed. Chambers didn’t know the answer but jokingly responded that the weight can vary depending on the season and how much snow is on the mountain.
A few BBB Accredited Businesses were among the vendors at the trade show, including Alaska Backcountry Adventure Tours, The Park Connection, The Alaska Railroad and Oomingmak Musk Ox Producer’s Co-operative.
Many travel businesses seek BBB Accreditation to convey a sense of trust to visitors booking with them from outside the state.
“(It) helps validate that we are a legitimate business that travelers can feel comfortable using,” Steve Judd, president of The Park Connection, said.
The Park Connection is part of Alaska Tour and Travel and offers motor coach tours to Denali National Park.
This was Alaska Backcountry Adventure Tours first year to attend the trade show. They found it beneficial as they were able to connect with many people who were unaware of their company.
Mattie Wilcock, a co-owner of Alaska Backcountry Adventure, echoed Judd’s sentiment about accreditation helping travelers feel comfortable.
“It really gives people better satisfaction, more security, and credibility,” Wilcock said.
For more information, contact Visit Anchorage at anchorage.net.