Great Service makes the Vail Valley stand out |

Great Service makes the Vail Valley stand out

I attended last week’s Vail Business Forum – “Driving Short-Term Sales While Building the Long-Term Vail Brand.” I left energized, not just by the community commitment to having multiple entities working together (including the town’s Local Marketing District, Commission on Special Events, Economic Advisory Council and Vail Resorts), but by the commitment by all stakeholders to continue to focus on guest service and guest satisfaction as a way to differentiate our destination from our competitors.

A “categorical commitment to the highest level of guest service” was brought up during the presentation. This commitment as shown by Vail Resorts, the town of Vail and others in the lodging, restaurant and merchant communities is exactly how Vail is able to maintain (and grow) occupancy in a challenging economy and in an ever-changing travel environment. This made me think of a quote by the king of customer service, Walt Disney, who said, “Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and bring their friends.”

Put yourself in a guest’s shoes: You are planning a ski vacation and have decided to come to Vail. A typical first-time guest may not know the difference between Lionshead and Vail Village and probably does not know the details and logistics behind a ski trip that we might take for granted (ground transfers, ski rentals, grocery delivery and so on).

As a destination, we shine and can continue to shine by being all about the guest. Realize that the guest does not differentiate between companies, from ground transportation to their lodging property to their dining and retail experiences to their on-mountain experience. It is all their Vail vacation – it’s one experience.

Understanding this and continuing to focus on and constantly improve our guest service will create loyalty among our guests and create “brand advocates” in the marketplace – people who talk about the great time they had at a great resort.

We all understand the power of word-of-mouth – and the power of our advocates to influence and manage popular opinion all over the Internet (think or Facebook as two examples).

A commitment to ensuring a positive guest experience is an overarching theme throughout our destination – from having special events for our guests to enjoy during their stay (such as StreetBeat or the recent Lindsey Vonn homecoming in addition to our menu of signature programs throughout the year) to the service provided at all points during a guest’s interaction with the destination.

We do a great job – and need to continue to do a great job of making the world revolve around each guest so they leave talking to their friends and family about what a great experience they just had in Vail.

So forget about burn-out at the end of the season. Help a guest this week with directions, or offer suggestions for a restaurant if you’re riding the town bus. Be an advocate and show your individual commitment to the providing the highest level of guest service.

Coming events

• April 15: Lobster Blue Jeans Networking Party, 6 – 9 p.m. Vail Chophouse.

• April 21: Breakfast Scrambler, 7:30 – 9:30 a.m., Cucina Rustica, Lodge at Vail (free to Partnership members).

• May 27: Shotgun in the Sun member golf tournament, 9 a.m., Sonnenalp Golf Club.

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