Vail could show ‘world class’ style |

Vail could show ‘world class’ style

Michael Kurz
Vail CO, Colorado
Special to the DailyMichael Kurz is president and chief executive officer of the Vail Valley Partnership.

VAIL, Colorado ” In business, like in competitive sports, winning is everything. This particularly rings true in our unique market, which, interestingly enough, is well-populated with myriad accomplished amateur and professional athletes.

While the ski season to date has been fast and ferocious with whirlwinds of snow, guests and visitors, we need to reinforce the importance of applying our skills, pride and commitment as if we were an NFL team headed into the playoff stretch.

There are a few “back to the basics” questions all business owners should ask themselves to assure that the customer-service “A” team is on the field as the clock winds down.

– What are we trying to achieve together this season?

– What are the fundamental core values of this business?

– Are we losing ground to the opposition (competition)?

– What do our fans (customers) want?

– What assets do we have that we can bring to bear to close out strong?

Answer the above, and the picture becomes crystal clear that the business

all of us are in is creating memorable experiences for our guests. It is not one element by itself that makes or breaks the experience.

For example, the world-class ski terrain experienced on the mountain may be just a prelude to a “15-yard penalty” if the customer service at the ski shop, apparel store, restaurant or lodge was not also world-class. Remember that the time our guests spend with you is the Vail Valley experience.

Strategy matters, no doubt. But without a winning culture and attitude to drive it forward, your strategy is taking you nowhere. Creating and sustaining a winning culture isn’t easy, but it is the foundation of a thriving year-round economy.

Help your staff bring this kind of commitment and quality to your “game.” At this point in the season, you and your team may be a little fatigued. I’m sure many of you have already booked a plane ticket to a destination where surfing or diving is on the day’s agenda and you go home after a long day and read the departure date and time over and over, but our guests don’t know that. So make the extra “fourth and goal” effort like all great teams do.

In the weeks and months to come, you’ll see the Partnership creating programs to help you maintain this winning attitude 365 days a year. We think it’s critical to listen to what our frontline professionals need and give them what they need to thrill new guests, who then will return year after year. We believe that extraordinary service, spread by the word-of-mouth of happy guests and visitors, is our Super Bowl victory.

For now, let’s all make the effort to show the world what “world class” is. In the end, just like a team that thinks it has “great potential,” the Vail Valley brand isn’t what we say it is. It’s what our guests say it is. To punctuate the analogy, “you’re only as good as your record.”

Michael Kurz is president and chief executive officer of the Vail Valley Partnership.

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