MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Lifelong Memphis residents are now learning things they never knew about the Bluff City, thanks to “Insiders on Tour.”
Tourism is a $3.5 billion industry in Memphis, so the impression we leave on visitors is important.
Insiders on Tour is a program that trains local hospitality workers, like Tina Moore and Jabria Johnson from the Westin Hotel.
They boarded a Backbeat Tours bus with other locals to learn all things Memphis.
"The boss suggested it, so I was like, ‘yes, let me go. Yes,’” said Moore.
"One of the coolest things to me? I had no idea Johnny Cash lived in the City of Memphis,” said Johnson.
From Johnny Cash’s apartment in Midtown, to Elvis Presley’s boyhood home near Downtown, this informational tour is all about making Memphis shine.
It’s offered by Welcome To Memphis, a subsidiary of Memphis Tourism.
"We focus on the people who interact with the visitors and train them and make sure they have customer service orientation that meets up with our authentic Memphis hospitality standards,” said Mary Schmitz, Welcome to Memphis executive director.
The Downtown Memphis Commission’s Blue Suede Brigade is also on board. It’s one part security squad and one part helpful concierge.
"We can encounter at least 100 people a day,” said Marius Scott, Blue Suede Brigade specialist.
"It's important that we are able to talk to people from around the world, connect with them and tell them about the history, what's here now, give them recommendations and really help them experience Memphis to the fullest,” said Robert Montgomery, Blue Suede Brigade specialist.
After a visit to Beale Street, the Civil Rights Museum, Overton Park and Stax, the employees are now loaded with lots of cool tidbits about Memphis' hottest spots.
"Our guests are our number one priority when they come into the hotel. So, just to be able to know where to send them, the directions to give them and just some fun facts about where they're headed,” said Johnson.
You can take the Insiders Tour even if you don't work in tourism.
Backbeat also offers several other tours around Memphis.