Tourism Kelowna’s Visitor Experience team provides service to visitors and local residents in person, by phone, and through digital channels at our Kelowna Visitor Centre (KVC) and Kelowna International Airport Kiosk, as well as with our mobile team, who attends events, festivals, and conferences. Providing these services would not be possible without the support of Tourism Kelowna’s large volunteer base.
Volunteer Program - 2020 Recap
This year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the KVC was closed to walk-in traffic from March 18 until June 28, while the airport kiosk was closed from March 17 until September 7. At the end of 2021, there were approximately 22 out of 73 volunteers attending their shifts, as not all Visitor Experience volunteers were comfortable returning to service this year.
With restrictions placed on events for much of the year, we were not able to gather in person for volunteer recognition events, meetings, or familiarization tours. Despite the challenges faced with lacking volunteer recognition opportunities, we deemed it more important than ever to ensure our group felt supported. We recognized volunteers by:
- Hosted a weekly volunteer check-in call from March until November; held monthly volunteer meetings in remaining months.
- Mailed gifts to each volunteer for National Volunteer Week.
- Hand delivered “Holidays At Home” gifts and personalized cards to each volunteer in lieu of our annual holiday recognition event.
- Surprised volunteers with coffee/refreshments/snacks during their shifts.
Each year, Tourism Kelowna surveys our volunteers to gain their feedback about working with our organization. At the time this year's survey was conducted, Tourism Kelowna’s Visitor Experience team consisted of 73 volunteers. In 2020, Tourism Kelowna’s volunteers contributed approximately 2,920 hours or 1.5 FTE positions. Without the dedication of our volunteers these hours and everything completed during this time would not be possible.
2020 Survey Results
This year's survey had a 70% response rate, completed by 24 volunteers (47%) from the Airport Kiosk and 27 volunteers (53%) from the Kelowna Visitor Centre.
When asked about what the volunteer’s favorite part of their role with Tourism Kelowna was, the overwhelming answer, similar to last year, was interacting with people and meeting people. Every single survey participant answered this question, and almost every single answer related to meeting people or interacting with people.
The top three desired forms of recognition are:
- A Tourism Kelowna staff member / board member saying thank you.
- A visitor saying thank you.
- A recognition event or reception.
When rating overall satisfaction with Tourism Kelowna’s volunteer program on a scale of 0 to 100, the program scored 92%, which is up 4% from 2019. Additionally, 93% of those who completed the survey said they would recommend volunteering at Tourism Kelowna to a friend, which was similar to last year's score of 92%.
In 2020, we added three questions about the COVID-19 pandemic. From those questions, we found that all volunteers who have returned to either the visitor centre or airport kiosk feel confident with the health and safety policies and procedures that Tourism Kelowna has in place. We also found that 90% of volunteers feel they have been provided with adequate support to feel physically and emotionally safe during the pandemic.
For further information about Tourism Kelowna's volunteer program, or for a copy of our volunteer application, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 250-861-1515 ext. 220.