Vail Daily column: The case for being bold |

Vail Daily column: The case for being bold

We’re fortunate here in the Vail Valley.

To put it bluntly, it’s good to be us. Our community has shown a great leadership position in the past few years. Examples abound, from the town of Vail and Vail Local Marketing District and the growth of special events to Vail Resorts reporting a great winter season and record guest satisfaction levels. We’re fortunate to have an abundance of special events and event producers that other resort communities should be envious of, from the Vail Valley Foundation to the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival. The Eagle/Vail Regional Airport and Vail Valley Jet Center continue to do great things and provide high levels of service. And our collective lodging community continues to grow year-over-year lodging occupancies, which help local businesses attract more customers. Add to all of this the community programming from groups such as the Vail Recreation District and the Western Eagle County Metropolitan Recreation District and we’ve got an incredible asset.

But we can’t rest on our laurels. Frankly, everyone is shooting for us. Aspen and Breckenridge recently passed new lodging taxes to increase tourism promotion of their resorts. With this increased competition, the status quo just won’t do. Fortunately, the Vail Valley business community is positioned to play a vital role in keeping us at the top of the pyramid.

The economic downturn the past few years has challenged even the best-run businesses. Many of these organizations choose to avoid feeling sorry for themselves and instead look at the opportunities. It’s not about hiring or clarifying existing goals. It’s not even about plugging “better” people into positions. It’s about re-examining your business model, questioning the design of your operation, and rethinking job descriptions to pursue emerging opportunities.

Easy for me to say, but in reality pretty hard to do. We are trying to do it here at the Vail Valley Partnership, all in an effort to achieve our mission and add more value to our member businesses by bringing more guests to our valley and to help businesses do business.

We’ve re-examined our business and have listened to our members. The results? We have added additional networking programs and events including the upcoming Small Business Spotlight (July 14 at Crazy Mountain Brewery featuring six of our small business members) and will host upwards of 30 free member events this year.

We’ve worked collaboratively with entities including the Vail Recreation District, Eagle County, the Vail Local Marketing District, town of Avon, Beaver Creek and WECMRD to bring more guests to the valley through new events and sporting tournaments including this weekend’s Tough Mudder and next month’s The Show baseball tournament.

We’ve added new programs such as the Vail Valley Volunteer Connection to add value to our nonprofit members and promote community volunteerism. We’ve added programs such as the Vail Valley Merchant Alliance to add value to the global Vail Valley business community and specifically to these local merchant groups. And we’ve added new marketing benefits and opportunities for our members to promote their businesses to both locals and destination visitors.

The point of these examples? As a business operator, don’t settle for well-intentioned efforts to layer old ideas on a rickety old set of assumptions. Don’t point fingers for challenges – instead, embrace the opportunity to offer your guests new, original packages and help them make their memories, well, memorable. Challenge your employees to provide the very best customer service. Essentially, recognize that we’ve got some positive momentum in the tourism arena and that we can’t sit back – everyone else is gunning for us and it takes a constant, consistent effort to stay on top.

As always, I encourage all member businesses to get engaged with the Partnership and to contact us with any suggestions you may have to help us better serve you. Call us at 970-476-1000 or stop by our offices in Avon at Traer Creek Plaza to share your feedback.

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