I have always believed that we need to give every guest all we’ve got and deliver a “WOW! Experience” every time. We have the opportunity to transform every visitor to Newport into a lifelong ambassador for our city and its many attractions.

Writer and international hospitality expert Micah Solomon explains it this way:  “Creating a wow experience – a ‘yes and then some’ effort that goes well beyond fulfilling basic expectations – is a powerful way to turn the experience of a hotel stay or a restaurant visit into something unforgettable that will live on in the guest’s memories, encouraging a guest not only to return but also to share their ‘wow experience’ with the rest of the traveling public.”

Learn as much as you can about our city and know about upcoming events, concerts, and schedules of our many museums, attractions, restaurants, and historic sites.

SPECIAL FOR RESIDENTS: NEWPORT COUNTY RESIDENTS DAYS this Saturday & Sunday, March 3 and 4, at the Preservation Society of Newport County mansions. Any Newport County Resident will receive free daytime admission to ALL Preservation Society properties as guests of the Society. Proof of residency (driver’s license, utility bill, etc.) must be presented. Tell your friends all over the county to visit these priceless treasures.     

Check out the following updated listings and previews of the busy season ahead for residents and visitors alike.

TOUR GUIDES TIP OF THE WEEK – The Power of “YES!”

“YES!” is perhaps the most powerful word in the English language. Learn to say “Yes!” more and watch how your guests and visitors respond.  The importance of getting “Yes” into your business’s DNA forms a critical part of making every guest feel welcome, comfortable, and attended to.  Guests have all kinds of requests and questions during the course of their stay or visit. At all the best places, managers, front of the house staff, and support staff are finding more ways to say “Yes” to the changing requests and needs of their guests and visitors.    

TOURISM JOBS – JOB FAIRS & RECRUITING ARE IN SEASON

The hiring season is heating up. Plan now to secure a job in the growing visitor and tourism business in our wonderful city. Several big job fairs are planned for the coming six weeks or so. There is some expansion happening among the various tour operators. There may be a few new tours launched. There are also some major events coming to Newport in the next few months that will need additional people to support all the visitors.  Job openings include tour guides, greeters, boat crew, ticket sales, and a variety of support staff.

  • The Preservation Society of Newport County is seeking a Special Events Assistant, as well as Ticket Sales Associates, Team Leaders and Associate Team Leaders for their mansion properties (newportmansions.org).  If you missed their Job Fair this past Tuesday, February 27, check in with them directly for updated information about job openings for the upcoming season.  
  • Newport Hospitality is looking for greeters and a variety of support staff to help host the upcoming Volvo Ocean Race Newport event that begins May 8th. For more information, call 401/848-2264.
  • Sightsailing of Newport accepts applications for its jobs year round. Check their website for guidance on applying for sailing jobs, front desk staff, and office positions at Sightsailing.com/employment.

REMEMBER: Most of the city’s largest tour and cruise businesses accept job applications year-round.

COMING SOON – NEWPORT’S BIGGEST HIRING EVENT: Make a note to attend the Newport County Chamber Of Commerce Annual Expo & Job Fair 2018 on March 20th.  Meanwhile, be open to the temporary jobs available this month and next that may lead to a fuller schedule of work.  Watch for new job postings at www.WhatsUpNewp.com  website and at www.Facebook.com/NewportTourGuidesandGreeters.  

SPEAKERS & PRESENTATIONS THIS MONTH

Check out the wide selection of lectures, exhibits, talks, classes, and workshops to add to your knowledge and increase your understanding of the people and history of greater Newport.

UPCOMING NOTEWORTHY EVENTS: MARCH & APRIL

Tell your guests about these upcoming special events and lectures. It’s a great way to help them extend their current time here or plan a return visit to the City-by-the-Sea.

THURSDAY, MARCH 1 – EIGHT BELLS LECTURE

Norman Friedman will deliver the lecture, “Fighters Over the Fleet: Naval Air Defense from Biplanes to the Cold War.” The event is sponsored by the Naval War College and takes place from noon to 1 pm at the Seamen’s Institute, 18 Market Square, Newport.  The program is free and open to the public. $10 suggested donation. Info: 401/841-7276.

FRIDAY, MARCH 2 – SUNDAY, MARCH 11 – NEWPORT RESTAURANT WEEK

The annual Newport Restaurant Week with prix fixe meals are available for lunch and dinner at more than 50 restaurants in Newport & Bristol Counties. Info: discovernewport.org/Newport-restaurant-week/

SATURDAY, MARCH 3 – MUSCLE CAR MADNESS – GRAND OPENING – AUDRAIN AUTO MUSEUM

The new exhibit, Muscle Car Madness will have its grand opening this Saturday, March 3 at 10 am at the Audrain Auto Museum (222 Bellevue Avenue, Newport; 401/856-4420).   

SUNDAY, MARCH 4 – DANCING AT THE FORTY STEPS

To celebrate the official opening of Irish Heritage Month in Newport, there will be live music, singing, and dancing at the Forty Steps on the Cliff Walk beginning at 3pm. The Forty Steps is located at the end of Narragansett Avenue. Street parking available. A fun event for residents and visitors alike. Info: newportirishhistory.org

THURSDAY, MARCH 8 – HIDDEN PRESENCE: GOD’S LITTLE ACRE & BEYOND

Historian & author Glenn Knoblock will discuss some of the African American historic burial grounds and cemeteries in the region and in particular, God’s Little Acre in Newport.  This lecture will take place at the Newport Historical Society Resource Center, 82 Touro Street, Newport; 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm. $5 per person; $1 for members, active & retired military personnel with ID. Please RSVP online at NewportHistory.org or call 401/841-8770.

FRIDAY, MARCH 9 – MUSEUM OF NEWPORT IRISH HISTORY OPENINGS

The Museum of Newport Irish History [newportirishhistory.org] will offer special opening hours (Noon to 6 pm) for six days during Irish Heritage Month in March, beginning on Friday, March 9th.  The museum at 648 Lower Thames Street in Newport will be open March 9, 10, 11, 16, 17 and 18.  The regular season starts with a grand re-opening Memorial Day Weekend, beginning on Saturday, May 26th.  Learn here about Irish immigration to Newport County and the key aspects of Irish influence and contributions to life in Newport.

THURSDAY, MARCH 15 – THE NATURAL WORLD OF WINNIE-THE-POOH

Kathryn Aalto, author, and landscape architect will discuss her book and share her thoughts on the intersection of nature and culture in Winnie-the-Pooh. 6 pm at The Elms. Members: $10/General Public $15. Advance reservations required at newportmansions.org/learn, or call 401/847-1851.

SATURDAY, MARCH 17 – St. Patrick’s Day Parade – 11 AM

At 11 am, the 62nd Annual Newport Rhode Island Saint Patrick’s Day Parade will step off in front of Newport City Hall on Broadway.  There will numerous events and activities at Newport’s many bars and restaurants all along the parade route and elsewhere in the city.

TUESDAY, MARCH 20 – EXPO & JOB FAIR – 4 PM – 7 PM

NEWPORT COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE ANNUAL EXPO & JOB FAIR 2018. Gurney’s Newport Resort & Marina. One Goat Island, Newport, RI 02840. Info: 401/847-1600

FRIDAY, MARCH 23 – “MYTH, MEMORY, HISTORY AND HERITAGE”

On Friday, March 23, 2018, 10am-12pm, join the Newport Historical Society and the Rhode Island Historical Society in a joint program at Newport’s Colony House, Washington Square, Newport, RI, for “Myth, Memory, History and Heritage,” a panel of public historians.

SATURDAY, MARCH 24 – Exhibit Opening

Bohemian Beauty: The Aesthetic Movement & Oscar Wilde’s Newport.  Opening day: March 24.  A new exhibition at Rosecliff.  Open daily through November 4th. 9 am until 5 pm. Additional information available at newportmansions.org

THURSDAY, APRIL 5 – Rough Point Re-Opens

The Newport Restoration Foundation’s (NRF) historic Rough Point mansion will re-open on Thursday, April 5th for Guided Tours. The Foundation will celebrate its 50th anniversary this year. This year its exhibitions, as posted on its website (newportrestoration.org) will be: “‘To Preserve and Restore’: Newport Restoration Foundation at 50,”  and “A Hand in Design: Exquisite Drawings of Jewelry and Architecture for Doris Duke.” a collaboration between NRF and David Webb New York, jewelry designer to Duke and many other prominent figures from 1948 to the present.”  Rough Point will be open for tours through November 11th. Don’t miss this.  

SPECIAL TOURS CONTINUE

The Breakers continues offering the new guided tour first launched in 2017 — “Beneath the Breakers” — throughout the winter. Tours begin every hour on the half hour from 9:30 am – 3:30 pm and are one hour in length. At The Elms, their world-famous guided “Servant Life Tour” is offered throughout the winter at 10:30 am, 12 noon, 2 pm, and 3:30 pm.  

COMING SUMMER EVENTS: JUNE, JULY & AUGUST

Share these dates and events with your guests and visitors. Sell and promote our future activities and invite everyone to return here again and again.

THE NEWPORT FLOWER SHOW COTTAGES SMART & SMALL – JUNE 22-24

The annual flower show adds the current trend of tiny homes and combines them both as livable spaces, functional & beautiful, and the prettiest plants and flowers ever.  Rosecliff.  Information & tickets: NewportFlowerShow.org

THE NEWPORT SHOW ∙ JULY 28-29, 2018

The annual Newport Antiques Show has a new name this year, The Newport Show. This luxury show will, as it has since 2007, feature antique furniture, fine art, jewelry, and unique vintage items from more than 40 dealers.  Watch for more details about this show in the coming months. The Newport Show will again be held at the St. George’s School Ice Rink, 375 Purgatory Road, Middletown, RI, and will run July 28 and 29, 2018. Updates at www.TheNewportShow.com.  Proceeds benefit the Newport Historical Society and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Newport County.

WEEKEND OF COACHING – AUGUST 16-19

Every three years, aficionados of horse-drawn 19th-century road coaches gather in Newport for a big summer Weekend of Coaching. This year marks the third year since the last event. During the weekend of August 16-19, 2018 the Preservation Society of Newport County will host the biggest Weekend of Coaching ever.  The weekend will feature driving exhibitions, viewing of the historic coaches as they drive around the streets of Newport, and tickets to a formal dinner dance at the Breakers on Saturday, August 18th. The weekend is led by Honorary Chair Linda Lindh with co-chairs Kenneth Lindh and Beverly Little. Ted Eayrs is the Chair of Coaching.  Event updates and ticket information is available at www.newportmansions.org/events/a-weekend-of-coaching

PREVIEW OF AUTUMN IN NEWPORT

NEWPORT SECRET GARDEN TOURS – SEPTEMBER 7-9

Here’s one of Newport’s great events to share with your guests to encourage them to return here after the busy summer season. The September Newport Secret Garden Tours will offer ten incredible private gardens for the public to visit and enjoy. This self-guided tour program will raise funds for the Art Education programs in the island’s public schools. Tickets may be purchased in advance online at www.secretgardens.org for a discounted rate of $20.  

BOOKS & PUBLICATIONS

The best leaders, guides, and managers of historic sites, mansions, and tour companies read constantly to know the most about the places they work and to learn the latest research about the places they talk about to their guests.

Here is a recent book to read, learn from, and share.

THE HEART OF HOSPITALITY: Great Hotel & Restaurant Leaders Share Their Secrets. By Micah Solomon. New York: SelectBooks, Inc. 2016. I have read this book twice over and found myself agreeing with its many lessons, tips, and genius ideas to improve hospitality quality. The author brings the best practices from the high-altitude worlds of Ritz-Carlton and the Four Seasons hotels. He adds the visionary concepts and food service of Nobu, Craft Restaurants, and Danny Meyer. Then he adds in the elements of scripting, digital technology, and the power of authenticity to bring together all of the many choices the modern tourist and hospitality property has to choose from to deliver memorable experiences. Micah Solomon begins with a thorough and important discussion of systems and standards to guide hospitality service along with the critical keys of the hiring process to get and retain the best employees. Sprinkled in among nine comprehensive chapters are nuggets and ideas for the reader to “steal” and apply to her business immediately. If you are a hospitality and/or tourism leader, or someday want to be, then buy this book, read it, highlight it, and apply its proven lesson s for greater success in exceeding your customers’ expectations. There is no other book quite like THE HEART OF HOSPITALITY.

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PROUDFOOT is a documentary film producer, tour guide, and author of The Official 2018 Newport Tour Guides & Greeters Handbook (Shoreline Press (RI), 2017).  

Ryan M. Belmore

Ryan M. Belmore is the Owner & Publisher of What's Up Newp. Ryan is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers and serves on the Board of Directors for Fort Adams Trust and Lucy's Hearth. Send questions, tips, and story ideas to Ryan@whatsupnewp.com.