Valley Access Magazine, August 2017

High Tech Home Greets All Visitors With Broad Services

 

 

 

 

What is it like to be Chamber of Commerce president and CEO of one of the most unique cities in the United States?
Just ask Judy Kleinberg, president of the Palo Alto, CA, Chamber of Commerce www.paloaltochamber.com, home of Stanford University and birth place of Google, Facebook and scores of other worldly successful technology start-ups. The Palo Alto Chamber of Commerce (PACC) opened its doors in 1910 and has grown to serve a membership of hotels, local newspapers, technology companies and local government.  

Judy is a business law attorney with years of experience in startups, high tech, media, nonprofits and government. She joined the Chamber in 2014 and has seen it grow beyond just a business center to be the primary visitor center in Palo Alto as well, bringing together a family of small and large businesses that serve the considerable number of visitors. The Visitor Center strives to serve all levels of business travelers as well as tourists. Judy said she has developed a unique “Technology Tour” as many visitors want to see the garage where college friends Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard started it all in what was to become Hewlett-Packard and “Silicon Valley.”

Tourists and Business Visitors

While a large part of the membership is local, the PACC has members from all over the United States such as New York that want to be sure they have a hand in the unique “vibe” that is Palo Alto and the talent pool that is exceptional.

Judy says that visitors to Palo Alto are either associated with a business or tourists who want a taste of the start-up technology world. “Visitors want to get a sense of what Silicon Valley is all about,” says Judy. The challenge, she says, is giving them directions and helping them find transportation as the Valley is spread out. “We are suburbs, not just one city.” 

When it comes to specific requests, PACC will often refer to AreaOwl, the online guest service tool to help visitors look for local restaurants, services, and businesses. The AreaOwl tablet sits “front and center” on the PACC counter. Not only does the AreaOwl tablet provide suggestions on where to eat, but visitors can find a near-by drugstore or supermarket, where and how to use Caltrain to get to San Francisco or San Jose, or information on fun places and activities in the area. Anything a traveler may need to lookup locally is all within a few clicks - “It’s all here!”

Find what you need

The PACC has a welcoming lobby area where visitors can browse a wall full of brochures on local attractions and services. In addition to browsing and collecting these brochures, visitors can now find all the information on the AreaOwl tablet, or they can go to the mobile-friendly AreaOwl website on their smartphone and have instant information wherever they go.

  • AreaOwl.com is not a review site, but an online local directory with a visual click-n-browse interface designed to make it easy and efficient for travelers and hospitality professionals to find what they need in the local area.
  • AreaOwl currently focuses on serving travelers who are visiting San Francisco and Silicon Valley. It reaches this highly targeted audience by working closely with local hotels and visitor centers.
  • This visitor focus makes AreaOwl a great place for local businesses to reach travelers. When a business is listed on AreaOwl, it is naturally easier for hotel staff to suggest such business to their guests, especially when the business listing features nice photos, menus, and other helpful information. www.areaowl.com/how-it-works
  • AreaOwl is an engaging and convenient guest service tool for hotel staff to efficiently show (not just explain) local choices to guests, even if the guest has difficulty with English. 

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Contact us to learn more about our “Welcome Card” and other free guest service tools that will help enhance the quality of your guest service while also improving staff efficiency. www.areaowl.com/how-it-works-hotels

In collaboration with a local limousine company, PACC is preparing to start offering their Technology Tour to introduce the birth and development of Silicon Valley to visitors. PACC and AreaOwl are now in discussions to jointly promote Palo Alto as a fascinating and enjoyable City Destination for visitors to spend a day exploring the birthplace of Silicon Valley and the endless choice of local shops and restaurants.

For more information, contact us at www.AreaOwl.com or call 866-912-5601.

This article was originally published in the August 2017 issue of Valley Access Magazine.
Valley Access Magazine is a monthly e-magazine published by the Silicon Valley Concierge Association.