The City of Cleveland was in the process of building a new convention center that would bring in large pharmaceutical and medical companies to host and attend large-scale conventions. Positively Cleveland, the city’s tourism agency, knew they needed to prepare the city residents and hospitality community for large crowds of visitors that would include top hospital executives, nationally ranked doctors and surgeons, and pharmaceutical professionals. The community of Cleveland showcased both a lack of pride and appreciation for the city and its attractions. Destination Cleveland desired a destination education and hospitality skills training program for Cleveland’s frontline community, including staff at attractions, hotels, restaurants, retail and transportation.

Destination Cleveland needed help in changing the conversation around Cleveland so they reached out to Phil Bruno with Treat ‘em Right to design and deliver an effective hospitality training program.


Treat ‘em Right conducted a four-day Discovery Visit to determine the current conditions of the frontline hospitality community and identify training objectives. The Discovery Visit consisted of meeting with the First Impressions + Hospitality Advisory Committee and interviewing 21 frontline hospitality employees. Additionally, Treat ‘em Right sampled guest experiences at several attractions, restaurants, hotels, transportation options, including the public transportation and taxi services.

Treat ‘em Right developed two frontline training courses that matched the needs identified through first-hand experience, input from stakeholders, and interviews with frontline staff. The two training programs were developed with the goal to improve visitor experiences and promote Cleveland as a travel destination. The first workshop focused on improving interactions between visitor-facing staff and guests. Also, Treat ‘em Right designed a second workshop highlighting Cleveland’s destination brand using visitor information provided by Destination Cleveland.


The live classroom training programs were well received and prepared hospitality employees for the World Series, the Republican Convention, NBA Finals and more. Additionally, Cleveland residents have the knowledge and confidence to direct visitors to all attractions throughout the entire city. Cleveland’s travel and tourism industry grew by 3.8 percent in 2013 after the training program and visits to Cleveland reached a high of 17.6 million in 2015. As of 2017, an estimated 2,500 hospitality employees have completed the training programs. The region is currently boasting more than $17 million in capital developments in which $2.7 billion is tourism related.

Destination Cleveland
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Bringing over 30 years of experience in customer experience training and development, Mr. Bruno was a valuable member of Positively Cleveland’s program development team…The training program has been well-received by Cleveland’s travel and tourism industry and would not have been possible without the support and industry expertise provided by Phil Bruno.

– David Gilbert, President, Destination Cleveland