Today’s National Tourism Week featured Face of Travel is Rita Madison! Rita doesn’t work in Merriam, but she recently visited with a bus group from Lee’s Summit on a whirlwind tour of Merriam’s favorite stops. Here’s a little Q&A with Rita from her last visit to our community.
Merriam CVB: Tell us about yourself and how you came to work in this industry?
Rita: I have worked as a Senior Club Coordinator for the Bank of Lee’s Summit (now Security Bank of KC) for eleven years. This is my second career. I retired from AT&T with 32 years of service. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and a Master’s degree in Human Resources Management. I get a lot of personal satisfaction and joy in my current job from my daily interaction with the bank’s senior citizen customers. The Security Bank’s Senior Program, which includes bus trips, provides a real service to our community’s senior citizens. It gives them an opportunity to socialize, visit attractions and restaurants they might not go to on their own, and gives them something to look forward to.
Merriam CVB: How did you find your way into Merriam?
Rita: I learned about Merriam from the Merriam CVB at the 2016 Missouri Bank Travel Exchange, through printed materials and personal research on the internet. I worked closely with the Merriam CVB in setting up an itinerary that I thought my senior citizen group would enjoy.
Merriam CVB: How is the CVB helpful to you as a tour operator?
Rita: The most helpful aspect in working with the local CVB is having one contact for all the trip details. It makes it much easier for tour planners.
Merriam CVB: Being a tour operator is a lot of work. From coordinating trip details, to promoting destinations, to finding a place for 45 people to eat. What advice would you give to someone looking to work in this industry?
Rita: I agree being a tour planner is a lot of work, so having an organization like the local CVB to work with you on trip details is a tremendous help. It’s critical to be very organized, detail oriented and a “people” person. It’s also important to show enjoyment on the job and a caring attitude for the senior citizens taking the trips. One of the primary goals is to make sure trips are enjoyable, giving clientele experiences they might not be able to have on their own. It’s very rewarding, in more ways than one, when their trip experiences are as perfect as possible for them.
Merriam CVB: What was your favorite tour memory from your recent Merriam visit?
Rita: All activities on the Merriam trip were enjoyable, but the favorite activity for my group was the Strawberry Hill Povitica Bakery. Seniors always tell me they do not buy a lot of “stuff,” because they already have enough things. However, there is an exception. If they can buy items to put in their mouths, they absolutely will. My group bought several loaves of Povitica bread. On the return trip to Lee’s Summit, I made up a game trying to figure out the total number of loaves of bread the group bought. The total was 65. Then my group suggested we figure out how many pounds of bread we bought. They learned from the tour that each loaf of bread weighs 2.5 lbs. Sixty-five loaves of bread equaled 162.5 lbs. Everyone got a good laugh regarding the total weight, since the bread would have been like adding at least another person on the bus. I told my group we were lucky there were no weigh stations we had to stop at between Merriam and Lee’s Summit.
>>To see a clip of Rita’s group tour in Merriam, take a peek at this video from Mixture, a local candle and bath & body manufacturer in Merriam–and, one of Merriam’s most “scentsational” tour stops!
>>If you have a group that would like to Tour Merriam (minimums and fees may apply), please take a peek at our robust tour itineraries and contact the CVB to book your tour today at 913.403.8999 or firstname.lastname@example.org
>>Learn more about NTTW activities and Merriam’s daily Faces of Travel here!