Forum a learning opportunity for Vail Valley businesses |

Forum a learning opportunity for Vail Valley businesses

Chris RomerVail, CO, Colorado

The Vail Valley Partnership and Economic Council of Eagle County hosted our 6th annual Vail Valley Business Forum on July 26 at the Westin Riverfront Resort.Our keynote speaker, Dr. Richard Wobbekind, is the executive director of the Business Research Division at CU-Boulder. His responsibilities include developing an annual consensus forecast of the Colorado economy and performing various economic impact assessments of the Colorado economy. Wobbekind also produces the quarterly Leeds Business Confidence Index for Colorado. His keynote covered all this and more including national, state and county economic trends. Dr. Wobbekind also offered his expertise to gaze into his crystal ball to provide the audience with his economic forecast through 2015. Note: the complete presentation is located on the Economic Research Center on Wobbekind was joined for a 90-minute panel discussion and Q&A with attendees by panelists Maria Garcia Berry (CEO of CRL Associates), Bob Golden (CEO of the Colorado Association of Realtors) and Richard Scharf (President/CEO of Visit Denver).Numerous issues were discussed and the panelists were able to bring a regional perspective to our local audience related to economic development opportunities and challenges facing the Vail Valley business community and the State of Colorado as we continue to attempt to climb out of this recession. Discussion topics included higher education, workforce/labor force issues, demographics, the importance of Interstate 70 to both Colorado and Eagle County’s economy, the rising importance of international visitors (and international businesses), international air service to Denver International Airport and health and wellness opportunities.Each panelist was asked to share one tip with the audience on how Eagle County might be able to grow our economy, and similarly, how businesses might be able to grow their business in both the short and long term. Key takeaways from our panelists:Tourism & Service: Dr. Richard Wobbekind proposed that because our economy is heavily tourism based and this is unlikely to change anytime soon, our differentiation can come from service levels. He further shared that our guests have numerous options for their vacation and discretionary spending and encouraged attendees to focus on guest service and guest satisfaction.Brand: Bob Golden offered that the Vail (Eagle County) brand is incredibly powerful and we, as a business community, must do everything possible to continue to build and differentiate our brand in order to continue our success.Reverse Ambassadorship: Maria Garcia Berry suggested that because 57 percent of Colorado’s electorate lives in the Denver metro area, it’s essential for mountain communities to develop a “reverse ambassadorship” program with the public and with private organizations in the Front Range in order to ensure our voice is heard on issues ranging from Interstate 70 to other public policy decisions.Collaboration: Richard Scharf discussed the need for collaboration on a local, regional and state level, whereby all stakeholder groups are able to work together to achieve goals that would be very difficult to achieve individually.It was obvious over the two hours spend at the Vail Valley Business Forum that there is incredible energy from the local business community as well as local municipal stakeholders to learn from our regional partners and to positively contribute to making the Vail Valley and Eagle County an even better place to do business. Tourism. Brand. Reverse Ambassadorship. Collaboration. Sound familiar? The Vail Valley Partnership and our staff are committed to doing our part to help achieve these goals. We are heavily invested, via our signature programs and our destination marketing efforts, to each of the four “takeaway items” referenced by our panelists. We’ll continue to collaborate with both municipal stakeholders and member businesses to help make the Vail Valley a leader in the mountain region and in Colorado. What can your business do to help? If you benefit from these efforts, get off the sidelines and join the Partnership. If you are already a member, tell your neighbors to join to help us do more here in the valley. Visit us online at to learn more about our benefits available to local businesses and our various efforts to impact the Vail Valley community in a positive manner related to tourism, brand, regional ambassadorship, collaboration and more.

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