It is interesting to follow spring training. It is when veterans take the time to gradually get back in shape for a long, long season. It is when the five- to seven-year player is making sure he makes the team and keeps his starting job. There are two- to three-year players doing the same thing. Then there are the minor leaguers trying to become the last player to make the team so they can say they have made the "Big Club" and been to "the Dance." There are also free agents trying to prove they are worth $9 million per year. Spring training is much more than getting ready - it is honing your skills and playing exhibition games (because - yes - they keep track of wins and losses but the results do not count toward anything). Everything is progressing toward opening day - just like Opening Day on Vail Mountain. The energy is high and there has been tremendous enthusiasm generated by spring training as to the success the team will have in the season.The ski season starts with the same excitement. The ski season is in its playoff season and moving into the World Series. I reflect upon what that means for all our service industry employees. The headline of a Vail Daily article dated Jan. 10, 2003, "Going above and beyond," defines the Premier Impressions program that started in 2001. It was a program that Vail Resorts, town of Vail, Vail Chamber and Business Association and the Vail Valley Chamber and Tourism Board teamed together to lift Vail's image through several initiatives to improve customer service. There were three components to Premier Impressions. The first emphasized to managers to "prime employees to be extra courteous, the second was through a secret shopper program." The third was the Premier Employee Award. It rewarded shopkeepers, restaurant people, lodge employees and anyone else in the service industry for going "the extra mile with a smile."Every business in the Vail Valley is in the playoffs with their customers. Every business should be going "the extra mile with a smile" right now. We are moving into the World Series - making sure we go above and beyond in our service to our guests. We want our guests to feel that we all are in the World Series, service people and guests alike. Vail businesses want to win the World Series with our guests, so that next year they join us for spring training in November - when it snows a foot on Opening Day! And off we go on another great ski season. Stay involved and stay informed. If you are not already receiving the Vail Chamber and Business Association's weekly newsletter, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to start receiving it. If you are interested in finding out more about the Vail Chamber and Business Association and what we have to offer to businesses in and that do business in Vail, call 970-477-0075 or email email@example.com. Based in Vail Village, our office is located on the top of level of the Vail Transportation Center, so stop by and say hello.Michael Staughton is an owner of Los Amigos and Russells in Vail Village. He is a board member of the Vail Chamber & Business Association.
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