Vail Centre column: Building a lasting organization in a resort town |

Vail Centre column: Building a lasting organization in a resort town

Ross Iverson
Vail Centre
Ross Iverson
Special to the Daily |

Resort towns often rely on one main attraction — such as skiing — to draw visitors to the area and then build up hospitality-driven industries and more businesses around this. Vail began as a small community with a ski area and then throughout time emerged to become a world-class destination for skiing, fine dining, live music, art, hiking, mountain sports, weddings and so much more.

However, resort towns with a strong focus on the hospitality industry have a downside. Many of these communities rely on special events for economic sustainability, which can potentially inhibit growth of more stable and lasting businesses.

At first, it’s easy to see why resort towns focus so much of their attention and funding on events. Hosting a major sporting event can help a resort area gain notice and increase a town’s profile. Events that draw thousands of attendees can also help create jobs and serve as a local short-term boon.

On the flipside, events can have a negative impact on a community. Costly stadiums and other venues built for a specific function might not have much use after the event is done. Certain events can actually draw visitors away, as vacationers don’t want to deal with increased traffic or big crowds.

While big-name events will always be a popular way to attract visitors to a resort town, it’s important these communities turn their focus toward creating lasting organizations in tandem with short-lived entertainment options and sporting events. In any industry, the true business leaders are the ones with long-term goals and a vision for their company’s success.

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Lasting and sustainable organizations focus on certain key elements to ensure they have a well-designed business model that can build upon itself.

• Developing a structure for product and business innovation — Organizations with an eye on long-term gains don’t only focus on making their product or service run smoothly. They also have a system in place for making products better and creating new products. Expect your business model to change at least every two years. Lasting organizations are always watching market trends and actively gauging how their customers are responding to a product during each stage of its development.

• Investing in employees and developing future leaders through education — Out of all of the best practices for long-term growth, companies neglect this area the most. Even major companies such as Amazon and Google have an average turnover rate of one year. How can any organization build a lasting business model its employees jump ship a few years after being hired? Investing in your employees isn’t only a good idea; it’s a necessary component of long-lasting success and sustainability.

Many executives want a cohort of future leaders and trailblazers working alongside them, but that’s easier said than done. Businesses and organizations must take active steps to implement a work culture which allows for continuous training and professional development. Doing so helps companies develop talent and promote from within.

Ross Iverson is the CEO of the Vail Centre and can be reached at The Vail Centre’s mission is to elevate careers, organizations and communities through education. Learn more at

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