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DMC rolls out new hospitality accreditation program

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A new program to take service at Rochester hotels, restaurants, stores and cabs from good to "world class" launched this week as part of the Destination Medical Center initiative.

For more than two years, Mayo Clinic, DMC and the Rochester Convention & Visitors Bureau have worked to create the Experience Accreditation program. A new website has been created for the program

"We are kind of the trailblazer for this," said RCVB Executive Director Brad Jones.

Businesses can apply for the free program. An oversight committee made up of representatives from each sector, the Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce, Mayo Clinic, the RVCB then see if the applicant matches the standards established for each type of business.

Once it's officially accredited, the business will be displayed on the top of lists on the convention bureau's website and they also will top Mayo Clinic's preferred recommendations to patients. The business also will be able to promote the designation in their advertisements and in their offices.

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The new program also incorporates the RCVB's Certified Tourism Ambassador program by requiring employees to go through the training. Jones explains the ambassador training is for individuals, while the Experience Accreditation program is for businesses.

"The CTA program was kind of the first step," he said.

The oversight committee already has approved five businesses — Homewood Suites by Hilton, Hers, Posh Boutique, Scheels and Twigs Tavern & Grille. Jones estimates that about 20 other businesses are under consideration for the designation.

Accreditation requirements differ for each type of business. Some requirements include responding to visitor complaints in a timely manner, accommodating a variety of dietary needs, having staff trained as ambassadors and showing a RCVB video in guest rooms.

"Having the best possible service at all touchpoints is imperative for the approximately 3,000 patients and companions who visit Rochester daily for Mayo Clinic. This level of service throughout the care and healing journey is in the best interest of the patient," stated Dr. Sandhya Pruthi in the announcement of the program. Pruthi is the medical director of Mayo Clinic's Patient Experience department.

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