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Thursday August 25, 2011

The Martinsville-Henry County Economic Development Corporation's (EDC) Tourism Division recently hosted an ice cream social for 15 employees of the Comfort Inn of Martinsville. The employees who represented all departments including housekeeping, maintenance, front desk and management were honored for participating in the EDC's Visitor Feedback Program.

Every hotel, bed & breakfast and campground in Martinsville-Henry County, along with all area branches of the Blue Ridge Regional Library are provided with visitor feedback surveys to give guests. The establishment which returns the most completed guest surveys wins a prize. While the Comfort Inn won for the months of June and July, past winners include Indian Heritage RV Park and Quality-Dutch Inn. Scott Wilson, General Manager of the Comfort Inn, accredited his hotel's success to the fact that his staff "personally hands each guest a copy of the survey along with their room key to ensure that it is seen by the guest."

According to Jennifer Doss, Director of Tourism, "Data gathered from the surveys helps us fine tune our marketing efforts so we can reach our target audiences as cost-effectively as possible." She added the surveys also "Give us a better idea of where visitors are spending money and which Martinsville-Henry County attractions interest them most."

Recent surveys indicate that visitors drive on average 323 miles or approximately 5 hours one way. Once in the area, the average guest stays 2.5 days and spends $204 per party on food, lodging, attractions, shopping and fuel. According to Doss, "Since many of our area attractions are free or have a very nominal fee, it makes this a very attractive community to visitors."

While the Comfort Inn employees enjoyed their ice cream they also competed in an interactive quiz game designed to test their knowledge of attractions in the Martinsville-Henry County area and inform them about ones they may be less familiar with. The group was very competitive but Housekeeping Supervisor Heather Leuba ended up winning the trivia challenge and received a tote bag of goodies from New College Institute and VisitMartinsville.com. "Heather's extensive knowledge of our area makes her a true ambassador and we are pleased to know she is greeting our guests daily as a front line employee in the hospitality industry," said Doss.

The mission of the Martinsville-Henry County Economic Development Corporation is to create new job opportunities and expand the tax base for the area. The organization strives to support and develop local industry, as well as market Martinsville-Henry County globally as an exceptional place to live, work and play.

The EDC is a public-private partnership between the City of Martinsville, Henry County, the Martinsville-Henry County Chamber of Commerce, the Martinsville-Henry County Chamber's Partnership for Economic Growth (C-PEG) and the Harvest Foundation of the Piedmont.

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