Editor’s note: This column was written by Carolynne Gamble. Calling all hospitality professionals! In one power-packed day, you can hear the latest trends and innovation in the industry. Attend the 10th Annual Napa Valley College Wine Country Hospitality Symposium, held Tuesday, March 31 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Napa Valley College, St. Helena campus.

Hospitality leaders will present insight and new approaches. Lunchtime features a Hospitality Hero who will share a tale or two over a meal prepared by the Napa Valley Cooking School.

This is recommended for business owners, managers, supervisors and young professionals in hospitality. Be advised, this an educational forum. Add humor, culinary refinement, a wine auction extravaganza, networking and bargains galore. Plus freshly baked goodies served at 8:30 a.m.

Topics include:

— Do it like Disney: superb customer service

— Going mobile: devices & apps to boost sales

— Destination marketing

— The reality of online ratings: Yelp, Trip Advisor and more

— Focus on food: the pulse on artisanal foods

— Innovative email management with Constant Contact

— Building your hospitality workforce team

— What’s brewing in wine country: spotlight on beer

— Hospitality hero: lunch with luminaries

High-technology innovation will be presented by Ron Scharman, chief operating officer of Chatterbox Wine Marketing, and Michael Wangbickler, partner/CEO, with Balzac Communications & Marketing.

Scharman delivers the latest in telesales and digital marketing in direct-to-consumer channels. Wangbickler has more than 15 years of experience in the wine industry, and is partner/CEO of Balzac Communications & Marketing, a local and innovative public relations/marketing agency.

Building Your Hospitality Workforce Team features panelists, Executive Chef Barbara Alexander with Napa Valley Cooking School; Colby Smith, founder of CANVAS; and Kaleigh Heathcote, hospitality account executive at Alkar Human Resources. The panel presents best wording for job descriptions and best practices for job recruiting. What about training and where do you find it? How to attract the best candidates for a position?

Albert Yu will moderate a panel on Destination Marketing. He teaches hospitality and business administration at Santa Rosa Junior College. He has 15 years of experience in the hospitality industry, including sales and marketing for the Four Seasons, Fairmont, and the Hyatt. Albert is a native Mandarin Chinese speaker who has traveled regularly to China since 1986.

“We are so lucky to have a resource like this to network, learn, question, and reinvigorate our businesses,” said Susan Garden, owner, Garden Party/Depot Trading Company in Calistoga and also providing décor for the symposium.

The symposium is sponsored by Alkar Human Resources. Marketplace Magazine is a media sponsor, and overnight lodging discounts are available at EuroSpa and Inn and Stevenson Manor in Calistoga.

The event is hosted by the Napa Valley College Business and Entrepreneurship Center, Napa Valley College District Auxiliary Services, Napa-Sonoma Small Business Development Center and California Community Colleges.

Early bird registration is $129, and $149 after March 9. There is a special rate for students and teachers at $99 and $119 after March 9.

Check the website for details and update on speakers. Register at becatnvc.com.

Mary Cervantes is the business services director for Napa Valley College Napa-Sonoma Small Business Development Centers. Reach her at 256-7253 or mcervantes@napavalley.edu.


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