Where’s the love? Philly workers can take lessons in hospitality

city hall

C’mon, brother. Where’s the love?

Apparently, some Philadelphians are rude, and it’s offending some out-of-towners. So some city agencies put together a voluntary free, online hospitality training program for city workers.

The program, PHL Welcomes U!, aims to arm workers and residents with more people skills to potentially give visitors a more positive experience.

“Sometimes we’re perceived as edgy,” said Jack Ferguson, CEO of the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau, which launched the program. “And some people will say it’s not warm and friendly. What we want to do is make people feel welcome, create great memories and want them to come back.”

The newly expanded Convention Center is expected to see a decline in reservations starting next year, according to a report by AxisPhilly.org, because members of the carpenter’s union weren’t playing nice. Customer dissatisfaction was expressed with the union, which helps set up shows.

Ferguson added that the Convention Center Authority is working with the unions and full-time employees on a hospitality training program that was then repackaged for the rest of the city. “We took it one step further and incorporated people outside the building,” Ferguson added.

The Philadelphia Parking Authority has been featured on TV show “Parking Wars,” which showcased the hallmark take-no-crap approach to parking violations.

Susan Cornell, PPA senior director of administration, said it’s hard to judge the workers by the show alone.

“Nobody likes to get a ticket, that’s the bottom line,” Cornell said. “When you’re on the other end of getting a ticket, it’s hard to be like, ‘Oh, they’re just doing their job.’ ”

Cornell said the hospitality program would be beneficial for parking enforcement officers when they aren’t issuing citations to be ambassadors to current residents and visitors alike.

“That way, I think we can really make a difference,” she said.

A video tutorial on the website, PHLwelcomesU.com, said the course is so “Philadelphians can come to learn how to make great first impressions.”

Also, it says it’s where employees can learn “how to represent our city and state to newcomers and visitors.”

And also, “How to treat guests so they want to come back and share their experiences with friends and family.”

And, essentially, “How to make Philadelphia an even better place to live.”


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