Vail Daily column: Mid-year check in from the Vail Valley Partnership
Based on my Facebook feed, it seems that many people are shocked that it’s already July; whether or not you choose to embrace it, our calendars tell us that it’s true — we are halfway through the year.
That provides a perfect time for a mid-year check in from the team at the Vail Valley Partnership and our various efforts to help achieve our mission: To take the leadership role to create and manage collaborative programs that encourage economic development and result in increased destination tourism in Eagle County.
Our mission leans heavily toward collaboration and the “greater good.” It’s important for the Vail Valley Partnership — as a membership based chamber of commerce, destination marketing organization and economic development organization — to have strong return on investment to our stakeholders to ensure their engagement in our efforts. It is equally important — and much harder to measure — to provide a voice to our community and our business interests at a regional and statewide level to ensure that Eagle County isn’t forgotten about.
But I digress; we’ve been working hard at providing both tangible benefits and a larger voice to our community and I want to take a moment to share some key successes at the mid-year point.
1. We hosted dozens of groups, meetings and special events throughout the valley as a result of our group sales efforts, resulting in over 35,000 room nights through June and forecast to result in many more by the end of the year.
2. The Vail Valley Partnership has led the efforts to create the Economic Development Leadership Council, a working group of community members who are helping to redevelop Eagle County’s economic development plan and to help define future economic development efforts.
3. We have hosted numerous networking events, ranging from business after-hours mixers to breakfast scramblers. We’ve partnered with other chamber and business groups when applicable, increasing our collaboration with the Gypsum and Eagle chambers, Minturn/Red Cliff Business Association, etc.
4. We have hosted a variety of educational programs and member orientations to ensure the business community is aware of various opportunities — stay tuned for our upcoming program with the Colorado Tourism Office, our annual Labor Law seminar with Sherman & Howard and our annual Business Forum with keynote speaker Ken Lund from the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (Save the date: July 30).
5. Increased engagement of the business community in our cost savings and marketing programs, designed to save operational costs and increase exposure to destination guests as well as the local community. These programs are all free to members — including our opt-in list of destination visitors (sent monthly to participating businesses).
6. We’ve enhanced our website listings and email confirmation letters to further promote our members.
7. We’ve been actively involved with the EGE Air Alliance, resulting in the new summer flight service to and from Houston.
1. We increased our collaboration with the Northwest Colorado Council of Governments and their newly designated economic development district, ensuring Eagle County’s business community interests have a “seat at the table” in regional efforts.
2. Northwest Colorado Council of Governments is also embarking on a project to develop a Regional Strategic Plan for Broadband for an eight county area, which consists of Eagle, Garfield, Grand, Jackson, Moffat, Pitkin, Rio Blanco, Routt, and Summit counties and the city of Glenwood Springs and town of Carbondale. The Partnership is actively engaged in this project.
3. The Vail Valley Partnership is also increasing our involvement with and engagement in the Colorado Rural Workforce Consortium, which helps set the workforce support tools available to the business community and those employees seeking work.
1. The Vail Valley Partnership has been an active participant in the state-wide economic development planning, sitting on the key industry network for tourism and outdoor recreation.
2. Similarly, we have been participating in the Colorado Brand Council — a key component of the new statewide branding effort (details at makingcolorado.gov).
3. The Partnership has a strong relationship with the Colorado Tourism Office and serves on various committees of industry partners, helping define CTO tactical efforts and working with their agencies to promote tourism to Colorado.
Is it important for our businesses, towns, special districts and others to be engaged at each of these levels?
Of course — but it’s not always realistic to expect each individual entity to do so (and even if it were, it would certainly result in quite a bit of duplication of time and services taking place).
The Vail Valley Partnership is working hard to provide both tangible benefits to our members as well as a voice to our business community at a regional and state level.
These efforts are all aimed to help achieve our mission to encourage economic development and increased destination tourism.
It’s a job we take seriously and it’s something, often intangible and not easily measured, that your membership helps support.
Chris Romer is president and CEO of the Vail Valley Partnership.