Business leaders in Vail preach optimism |

Business leaders in Vail preach optimism

— Excellent customer service and a positive attitude will help Vail businesses quickly return to prosperity when the country’s recession ends, business leaders said Tuesday.

“Being desolate and being depressed isn’t going to help. Being upbeat and having fun will – guests pick up on that,” Antlers General Manager Rob LeVine said Tuesday at a panel discussion about business strategies held by the Vail Chamber and Business Association at the Vail Golf Course.

Sales figures and other data have shown that although business in Vail is down, it is faring better than most other major ski resorts in North America. That local activity is critical, LeVine said.

“People do not want to go on vacation to a ghost town or anything close to it,” he said. “We’re poised to return to where we’ve been more quickly than anybody else.”

Craig Cohen, an executive with the Solaris complex under construction in Vail Village, said people come to Vail to get away from the world’s troubles.

“Vail is still a place people want to come to escape,” he said. “When they come here, they’re looking for relief. It’s our responsibility to provide that positive ski town energy.”

Joe Walker, of Vail Sports, says his company’s ski shops have put even more emphasis on customer service, even going so far as to putting customers’ shoes on boot warmers while they’re renting ski boots.

“We don’t want guests to see any perceptible drop in guest service,” Walker said. “If we treat them right now, the same people will patronize us when the economy gets better.”

LeVine added that customer service should be a town effort. Conceding that his hotel has left the occasional guest unsatisfied, he said he tries to help when his guests say they’ve have a bad experience elsewhere in town.

“On occasion, we hear horror stories about some other place in town, and we try to cover for them,” he said. “If we hear a guest had a bad experience at a restaurant, we give them free movies for the rest of their day.”

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