Vail Chamber: A world-class destination demands world-class guest service (column) |

Vail Chamber: A world-class destination demands world-class guest service (column)

Marco Valenti
Vail Chamber
Marco Valenti

The May snowstorms have departed, and the heat of the summer is upon us. I love this time of year, as the valley and all its inhabitants come back to life.

Last week, I was lucky enough to have my niece and nephew, ages 6 and 5, visit. As a result of their presence, I went places and did things outside of my normal routine.

I sat a spell with them in a park, on the grass, laughing and playing with our puppy. I watched them play in the Children’s Fountain, my niece pirouette and my nephew karate chop the columns of water. Simply stated: We had fun.

I remember thinking to myself, this is something I should do more often. We also went into several shops, for ice cream, for flip-flops, for sunglasses, for chocolate, for sandwiches, for ice cream — you get the picture.

One element of our visits that was abundantly clear to me is the variation of service levels in town. Many times, we were greeted with a happy hello and the operators asked about our day.

We also interacted with employees who were indifferent, and they stood out compared with those who were engaging. The contrast was stark.

My intent is not to sound negative but to elevate our guest service culture in a holistic fashion, specifically to elevate some areas, maintain others and socialize what we feel are our world-class Vail standards. I know this is no easy feat and one that will require diligence and a willingness to work as a team, throughout Vail.

In my role for Vail Resorts Retail, I am responsible for the operations at several shops throughout town. Despite this constant attention and tremendous focus by the team, from day to day, door to door, the service levels vacillate.

Our community goal can be to take ownership of our respective operations and recommit to delivering world-class guest service on a daily basis to every guest. Bravo to the shops and operators who deliver consistent service on this level.

To those who do not meet the standard, I remind you, and myself, that our guests are that much more aware of the absence of this level of service as a result of receiving it elsewhere. The destination mountain resort environment is ever more competitive; therefore, we cannot afford complacency.

I do not have all the answers; however, I am confident they exist within the expertise of our town. Vail is great, and we can grow upon that fact. I would like to start a dialogue with my peers in hopes of further discussing this possibility. Feel free to let me know your thoughts at I look forward to what is to come and serving to perpetuate the legacy of Vail.

Marco Valenti is the area manager for Vail Resorts Retail, the retail division of Vail Resorts, and oversees 15 shops in Vail. Valenti is a Vail Chamber & Business Association board member. The Vail Chamber & Business Association is a business advocacy group in Vail and a communications outlet for businesses that want to have a voice in community affairs. For more information, call 970-477-0075 or email