Mike Butts of Visit Charlotte
Terminates Our Partnership
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We Believe that Mike Butts is behind this latest Visit Charlotte Partner threat.
If you are a visitor or newcomer to Charlotte, or, if you are or are thinking about becoming a partner of Visit Charlotte, you need to read this article.
Our partnership was officially terminated by Executive Director Mike Butts on Friday January 19, 2007. His decision came after we complained about repeated complaints from our customers that our company was not mentioned when they inquired about a professional tour of Charlotte. We have been conducting professional tours of Charlotte since 1993, and have been members/partners of the organization on and off for the past 14 years.
The sad thing about it all is that we were very reluctant to re-join this organization because of the severe problems that we have experienced with it in the past. Based on our experience, we have found that this organization will promise you the world and parity if you write them a check for their current and absorbent "Partnership" fee -- Currently $500.00 for basic partnership. There are no other requirements to become a partner of this organization. Sadly, once your check/payment clears the bank, that is usually one of the last times that your company will receive any attention from Visit Charlotte -- until it is time to renew for the next year. They have this process down to a science in that you will usually get an opportunity to bid on a small crumb-like project just before your partnership has expired.
I rely on the CVB to sell the city and get the information to me a "partner" in a timely fashion so that I can follow up and secure business. I have not had leads from Charlotte for two years. I view leads as an important part of my partnership." -- D. Eckert, Lowe's Motor Speedway, 02/02/05
We decided to re-join this Good-Ole-Boy network because we were told that for $100.00 our company could secure a link on their web site and leave literature at their Visitor Information Center. Lo and behold, we were then told -- By the late Jerry Thornton, Membership Director -- that they no longer offered that deal. The minimum Partnership Fee, he said, was now $500.00. We dared to ask what we what get in exchange for our $500.00 because -- based on our past experience with this rogue organization -- they have more hot air than the Goodyear Blimp!
In response to your rebuttal to Ms. Eckert's issue, I see that not much has changed in your organization since our company left your partnership a few years ago. You guys are still experts at spinning the truth and sometimes the only way to get you to do your job is through negative "Malicious" means. My suggestion to you is to always put your partners before and not after yourselves because we [help] pay your salaries." -- J. Whipple, Queen City Tours®, 02/04/05
This organization prides itself on providing networking opportunities for it's partners, however, most of the people that attend theses events are employees -- and not decision makers -- of their respective companies/corporations. These employees attend because they get brown-nosing credit for being there, and let's not forget the FREE food and drinks! What a waste of valuable time unless you are an employee!
To pour salt in an unhealed wound, the pseudo-professionals at Visit Charlotte have been providing our potential customers with false, erroneous, and misleading information. Their so-called Information Specialist have been busted several times -- by potential customers and our company -- by not only not mentioning our company but actually attempting to talk potential guests out of taking our tour in favor of a sweaty walking tour that departs from their location.
These crooks also continued to help promote and sell a similar tour with a similar name although they were provided documentation that the culprits -- Charlotte Arrangements (Another Partner) -- had illegally infringed on one of our registered service marks [Queen City Tours®] by promoting their A Day With The "Queen City Tour." In addition, they employed the assistance of one of our former contract guides -- Ms. Terri Joelle Polk Chambers -- although she had signed a non-compete and confidentiality agreement with our company.
Mr. Clarke Allen, president and chief crook at Charlotte Arrangements, is now a member of the Visitors Advisory Committee (VAC), which advises the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority (CRVA) -- the parent organization of Visit Charlotte. His company has somehow Good-Ole-Boy'd its way into the Annual Charlotte Carousel Parade in November.
During our recent partnership we have diligently provided the folks at Visit Charlotte with all of the information that they needed to competently assist our potential customers. In fact, we spent over an hour with members of the Visit/Main Street Charlotte staff explaining our standard operating procedures. Linda Mee Durkin, head of this center, was present. We also reiterated a long standing offer to provide a FREE FAM tour to any member of their staff. To date, none of the current new staff members have taken advantage of our offer. Our trust in this crooked organization had been violated on multiple occasions before our partnership was prematurely terminated by Mike Butts after concocting 28 false complaints.
Mr. Butts terminated our partnership after we complained once again about the incompetence displayed by their pseudo Information Specialist. His decision was based solely on what he was told by his Information Specialist and without speaking directly to one of the customers that complained about their poor service. He then complied a list of 28 false complaints to justify his retaliatorial decision. Visit Charlotte is formerly known as the Charlotte Convention and Visitors Bureau, an organization that had to be overhauled a few years ago because of poor management and mounting debt! If this not-for-profit organization would have been a "real" for profit business, it would have more than likely been out of business. This organization survives and thrives largely on handouts (from your taxes) doled out to it by the city of Charlotte. Therefore, it is advisable that you complain to the Mayor if you have a problem with this organization.
If you are a partner of this hideous organization, or are contemplating a pseudo-partnership, please do your homework and place a call to their information line at 1-800-231-4636. You may be shocked as to what they say, or do not say, about your organization. If you are a visitor/newcomer, please apply due diligence and seek out other means of reliable information about a company/venue. Merchant Circle and The Better Business Bureau are excellent sources of non-biased , non Good-Ole-Boy travel and tourism information about what's going on in Charlotte for visitors and newcomers alike. Soon you will be able to access additional information directly through our web site at Trend Magazine Online.
As a result of the aforementioned events, the staff of Visit Charlotte is no longer legally authorized to convey any information about our company. If you seek reliable and untainted third party information concerning our company, please see customer testimonials.
It is because of the above reasons that we no longer offer pick-ups at Visit/Main Street Charlotte, and they have been censured concerning their lack of integrity and professionalism.
Queen City Tours®
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