Vail Daily column: Happy Valley a fitting moniker
Spring is a good time to take a moment to realize that our business community is a bit different than others. Maybe it’s because we choose to be here — very few of us end up in the Vail Valley by accident. Maybe it’s because we share a common passion for the outdoors and recreation — time on the mountain (or trail, or river) define us much more than time spent in the office.
Regardless of the reasons, the fact is that we’re a bit different than many business communities. A recent blog and Facebook post by Rob Levine from the Antlers at Vail, who shared the following story, reinforced this fact.
“Under the heading of ‘Life’s Little Pleasantries,’ Magdalena gave a site tour to Aimee Heckel on Sunday. By the way, Aimee Heckel is a very entertaining writer (aimeeheckel.com). In this case she was reviewing some Vail properties for Fodor’s. Magda reported that they had a great site tour and also relayed an interesting comment from Aimee.
“When she asked about our neighboring properties, Magda naturally responded 100 percent positively, even noting some of the strengths of each. Aimee said that when she asked the folks at Sonnenalp about The Sebastian (where she was headed next, before us) they too had nothing but good things to say. On her way from The Sebastian to the Antlers, she got the same feedback from them, about us.
“Her observation was that she had never experienced quite so much respect and camaraderie between different properties, when on a travel writing assignment like this one. Hearing that made me quite proud of our community. No surprise … just a reaffirmation really, but I guess it’s evidence that when we sometimes call this place Happy Valley, we’re not always being facetious.”
I love this story for so many reasons — namely, it reinforces our sense of community and the fact that our business community is truly in it together. I am familiar with similar stories from our restaurant industry (read the menu at Blue Moose or The Chophouse next time you’re in one of those establishments and you’ll see them offering recommendations of other restaurants in the valley), within the construction industry and within our local special districts and governments.
Contrast the above story with what’s happening within the lodging industry in the Metro Denver area, where a number of downtown hotels are suing to prevent the development of a Gaylord Resort (supported by Regional Tourism Act tax incentives) from being built in nearby Aurora. Colorado Springs and their impressive City of Champions effort (another effort supported by the Regional Tourism Act) has faced similar opposition minus the lawsuits.
Granted, the Denver and Colorado Springs examples are not quite apples-to-apples as they are both developments supported by tax dollars. However, the recognition of our inherent interdependence on each other for our mutual success remains evident within our business community. The Front Range examples show that this recognition isn’t evident in all communities. This recognition of our interdependence, need for collaboration and mutual support doesn’t happen by accident. Our community is filled with leaders who value collaboration and working together. Collaboration requires, first and foremost, leaders with the right attitude to reinforce the type of behavior of all people throughout an organization.
We know we can promote the community, including our “competitors,” in large because we trust and have every expectation that the faith we place in someone else will be honored. This is the glue that holds us together and which gives real truth to the concept of the Vail Valley being “Happy Valley” despite some of our very real challenges (seasonality, workforce housing, transit, broadband access).
The story from Rob Levine at the Antlers reinforces what we already know about our business community. Kudos to the Antlers, the Sonnenalp and The Sebastian for their collaboration and recognition of each other and kudos to everyone else who inherently understands we’re stronger together.
This spring, take a brief moment to appreciate how awesome we are. Then get back to the work of keeping us awesome moving forward.
Chris Romer is president and CEO of the Vail Valley Partnership.