Jackson CVB Launches Hospitality Certification Program

In partnership with the Mississippi Hotel & Lodging Association (MH&LA) and the Mississippi Division of Tourism, the Jackson Convention & Visitors Bureau (JCVB) in Jackson, Miss., has launched a new initiative aimed at meeting minimum customer service standards at Jackson-area hotels.

The local initiative, which is expected to be fully operational by January 2010, is part of a statewide effort known as the Mississippi Hospitality Certified Program. The first program of its kind to be adopted statewide, it's open to all Mississippi hotel properties, which must meet minimum service standards—agreeing to address all customer complaints within 48 hours, for instance—in order to be certified.

"Jackson is bursting at the seams with developments that can significantly enhance our city," JCVB President and CEO Wanda Collier-Wilson said in a statement. "This initiative will help meet this demand and reassure guests that the properties that they are choosing for their lodging needs meet their expectations. With all the positive changes taking place in our city, we want our visitors to feel confident about choosing Jackson as their place to visit. We want to put whatever methods we can into place to help with their decision making."

The Mississippi Hospitality Certified Program first was introduced nearly two years ago and has since been embraced by hotels statewide, which receive an official Hospitality Certified Seal when they're certified, according to MH&LA Executive Director Linda Hornsby, who said Jackson is leading the way for other Mississippi destinations.

"Now that we are poised to move forward with this program, we are proud to have the Jackson Convention & Visitors Bureau take the leadership with us in launching this important initiative in Jackson to be followed by the other areas of the state," she said. "The partnership of the JCVB and the State of Mississippi Division of Tourism exhibit the commitment vital to the ultimate success, which will benefit the entire state."

Added Mississippi Division of Tourism Deputy Director Mary Beth Wilkerson, "This ground-breaking course is an avenue for the lodging properties across the state to evaluate and enhance their offerings and be recognized for doing so. Repeat travel and visitation to Mississippi is very important, and one way to ensure repeat visitation is to provide lodging and travel experience satisfaction."