Hospitality Workshop

How to Keep People Coming Back:

A Panel of Local Experts share The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Every year, as summer nears and we get ready for company, it’s time to think about how to ensure you and your staff are providing the best customer experience to keep them coming back. There’s always “The GOOD” experiences that make for great testimonials, but then there’s “The BAD” and “The UGLY” experiences that keep customers from coming back or giving your business a good review.

This year Visit Rapid City is taking a different approach to customer service and shaking things up with a panel of experts that will share tips of the trade, plus how to inspire your employees and keep them motivated all season long. We asked four of the foremost individuals in the hospitality industry to sit on a panel and talk about the good, the bad and the ugly.

You and your staff are guaranteed to laugh, cry and be inspired as these local experts share with you what it takes to get it right and keep customers coming back! Through their years of experience, successes and failures, you’ll takeaway BIG nuggets of information to implement right away.


John “Johnny B” Brockelsby

“We all agree that customer service is vitally important. But we should remember that it has two components – external for guests and internal for staff.”

John “Johnny B” Brockelsby has worked in the hospitality industry virtually his entire life. He started at age 9 giving “lectures” on giant tortoises at Reptile Gardens, a business started by his father in 1937. Since 1989, Johnny has been Public Relations Director at Reptile Gardens. He has been extremely active in promoting tourism in South Dakota and has served on numerous committees and boards. In 2015 Johnny was the recipient of the Ben Black Elk Award for outstanding lifetime contribution to the state visitor industry. As anyone who works at Reptile Gardens can tell you, customer service is his obsession!

Susan Johnson

“The fish rots from the head, and so it does with customer service."

Susan Johnson is currently the CEO of Black Hills Vacations, an online and call center reservation service for the Black Hills & Badlands Region of South Dakota.

Black Hills Vacations sells over 130 different lodging options, 60 attractions, 7 scenic tour companies, National Parks and equipment rentals like ATV’s and Snowmobiles.
We specialize in building unique itineraries and selling amazing Black Hills Vacation packages.
We’ve been at it for 20 years!  The company was launched by a group of Black Hills business people in 1998 and is registered as a non-profit 501 (c) 3 corporation.  The company operates with a board of directors representing tourism leaders in the Black Hills and has a staff of 10.

Domico Rodriguez

“Customer service should be fun so have fun with it! If you smile and have fun everyone around you, including the customer will feel that energy. Positivity is a mindset and your tribe attracts your vibe.”

Domico is a Black Hills State University Graduate with a degree in Communications. After playing football and running track for the Yellow Jackets he began working in the hospitality industry as a server at the Silverado before working his way into gaming as a Blackjack and Poker Dealer. After graduation he began working for the Rushmore Plaza Holiday Inn in the banquets department working his way up to a Sales Manager creating relationships in the hospitality industry. In 2010 he joined the team at the then Rapid City CVB as the Director of Sports and Events where he grew and molded his career recruiting sporting events into Rapid City and creating more partnerships in the hospitality industry along the way. In 2015 he became the Director of Operations for Liv Hospitality where he has been interim General Manager at many Rapid City Hotels and is currently the General Manager at the Iconic Hotel Alex Johnson. During every stop of his career Domico has excelled in customer service and building relationships and continues to teach customer service by leading and teaching in his own fun way. Domico’s positive attitude and enthusiasm helps he and his team navigate the sometime turbulent waters that are the Hospitality industry in the Beautiful Black Hills. Domico is also a High School and College basketball official and in his spare time loves to play sports to stay in shape.

Tony DeMaro

“Our team’s mission is to create a unique and memorable guest experience. In order to accomplish that, we require our team to think in terms of selling reactions, not products, and realize that if we don’t, we lose.”

Tony DeMaro is the proprietor of Murphy’s Pub & Grill, The Blind Lion Speakeasy, (kōl) & Press Start. He is fiercely committed to making the Black Hills a national destination for foodies. His concepts have received national coverage/awards through many major publications like Forbes & Midwest Living, but he’s most proud of being featured on the Travel Channel's shows Secret Eats & Food Paradise in 2017.


Register Today and reserve your spot

Hospitality Workshop Registration

Thursday, May 24, 2018

10:00am - Noon

Rushmore Plaza Holiday Inn (ballroom)

$10 per person, includes continental breakfast

Register by Friday, May 18th







Partially Sponsored by SD Department of Tourism and Rushmore Plaza Holiday Inn.


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