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Vail wedding was the height of customer service

Michael Kurz
Vail, CO, Colorado

Editor’s note: Because of an editor’s error, many of the names in Michael Kurz’s Friday column were accidentally run through a spell-check program, and thus, butchered. We’re re-posting the column, with the names spelled correctely.

This is a story (totally true) that should get the attention of everyone in Vail responsible for customer service.

Imagine the scene: It’s Saturday in the bar at Centre V and a wedding party is just starting to enjoy some pre-ceremony libations and get into the spirit when one of the party notices the Eagle Bahn had stopped running.



That’s normally a curiosity, but for this group of 80, who were about to load up for the scenic ride to the wedding deck, it was an immediate cause for concern… or panic. The deck and the Blue Moon had been booked for Lauren and Scott Payand’s wedding for months. Jen Howard from I Do Events had the food, the linens, the flowers, the whole shebang organized, timed and ready to rock. Then a thunderstorm moved in and no one was going anywhere on the gondola. The mighty Eagle Bahn was grounded. The food was getting cold and the restaurant was empty.

In no time, Chip Nelson, the Arrabelle’s manager of the day, jumped in like a superhero and John Dawsey, Rock Resort’s area director of sales, was contacted.



The next sequence of events reads like a hospitality/customer service primer about how to handle the unexpected.

Within minutes Angela Helms, event manger, Terri Hanley, director of events, Neil Barham, restaurant manager and folks from engineering, security, housekeeping, some game bartenders and a handful of other can-do types grabbed their cell phones, jumped in and the rescue mission was on.

While the wedding party waited on pins and needles and the wedding coordinator found transportation down the mountain for the food, flowers and table settings, the VIP room on the Arrabelle’s second floor was set for the ceremony. There was no time for chairs and with all the other events going on, they were scarce anyway, so “standing up” for a wedding had a whole new meaning.



As the happy couple exchanged vows, the incredible people behind the scenes set up an unoccupied ballroom for the banquet and just in the nick of time, all the pieces came together. Dinner service happened without a hitch, the reception was a ball and everyone had a lot to talk about.

As you know, the Vail Valley Partnership presents our Destination Luxury ” Platinum Service Program to help businesses throughout the valley provide service quality in line with this world-class destination. These events at Arrabelle illustrate the meaning, the spirit and the letter of Platinum Service.

Congratulations Jeannette Schulze, to you, and your wonderful, talented and imaginative staff. It’s things like this and people like these that provide the experiences and memories that make Vail what it is… a destination with no comparison.

– Also: Our next After Hours Mixer for Vail Valley Partnership partners is at Millennium Bank in Edwards Aug. 20 from 5 to 7 p.m. Hors d’oeuvres and adult beverages will be served, so come, relax and network with your peers.

Michael Kurz is President and CEO of the Vail Valley Partnership.


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