Convention center caters to guests

Published 11:36 pm Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Recently, Ben Hillyer wrote a column concerning the Natchez Convention Center which I would like to respond to. His opinion left the public with the impression that the convention center does not welcome guests and does very little to promote Natchez. We would like to make the public aware of several aspects of our convention center that are designed to promote our community.

When out-of-town groups come to the convention center, as a rule they prepare welcome bags with information on Natchez. Sometimes they purchase these themselves (as they may have a particular bag sponsor) and sometimes they request them through our Natchez Convention and Visitor Bureau. The bags are filled with brochures on current events and attractions in Natchez.

Just inside the central entrance to the Convention Center, there is a brochure rack that belongs to Downtown Development. This provides a place for downtown businesses to display their promotional material. Also there are two racks that contain the monthly Visitor’s Guide that is a publication of The Natchez Democrat. This publication is the primary printed source of visitor information that we refer to. In addition, we also provide the latest copies of Bluffs and Bayous and Country Roads magazines.

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In our event planning area, we have two additional brochure racks and displays of Natchez attractions. With larger conferences we receive assistance from the Retiree Partnership. They will maintain an information table during the conference and direct attendees to local restaurants and shopping venues. On the first level at each entrance, we also have digital signage where Natchez attractions are displayed and businesses can purchase advertising space.

Most of the comments I receive, and there are many, are very positive about our staff. We rebook a good percentage of our groups and make an effort to treat everyone with respect. We have a small staff and work almost every day including weekends. Occasionally someone is not immediately available to greet customers but this is the exception and not the rule. We always have someone in the office during weekday business hours.

The public also needs to know that our city has a large investment in the Visitor Reception Center and its purpose is to inform and promote Natchez.

At the Visitor Reception Center there are four entities with information booths: the State of Mississippi Welcome Center, the City of Natchez, Natchez Pilgrimage Tours and the Natchez National Park Service. This facility is open seven days a week. We refer many guests to this facility as it is designed, equipped and staffed to greet our visitors.

The Natchez Convention Center is very active in helping promote our community. We are always looking for better ways to serve our town.

Walter Tipton

Convention Center directo