• Meet Chris Romer, Vail Valley Partnership

     
    FROM THE Fall 2016 ISSUE
     

    Vail Valley Partnership President and CEO discusses work/life balance and the meetings and events outlook for his thriving area. 

Many years ago in Cincinnati, Ohio, young Chris Romer developed a plan to attend college at University of Colorado - Boulder in hopes of moving to the mountains of Colorado. It made good sense, placing himself geographically in the state he hoped someday to call home, checking out career possibilities and making the transition after graduation. The plan panned out as Romer lives and works in the Vail Valley, where he has been employed at Vail Valley Partnership (VVP) for the past 10 years, first as director of sales and marketing and now as president and CEO for the past seven years, and previously by other entities in group sales. 

“Tourism and hospitality has long held a spot in my heart,” he says, “the thought being that you can save your time and money to vacation in the mountains, or you can choose to live and make a career in the mountains.”

Romer and his team address all manner of Chamber, destination sales and marketing, and economic development business with VVP. He also serves on numerous industry boards and committees, including his current role as president of the Colorado Association of Destination Marketing Organizations. 

One of the keys to Romer’s success is integration of work and play. “I prefer to view work as part of my life, and integrate work into my life,” he says. “For example, we encourage staff to ski (or attend yoga classes or take a mountain bike ride) during traditional business hours, with the understanding they are expected to get their work done. It’s more important to me that our team views their career with Vail Valley Partnership from a client-service mindset, and what better way to build that culture than by building a work environment that values people as individuals with individual needs and motivations rather than a blanket policy around hours and time off?”

For his own work/life balance, Romer enjoys skiing, running—he completed his first marathon last fall—and volunteering regularly at his daughter’s school. 

He describes the current state of the meetings and events industry in the Vail area as “strong and growing stronger. We’ve been fortunate to add national brands such as Four Seasons and Westin to our portfolio of boutique and independent lodging options, providing a variety of options for meeting professionals. … I’m particularly excited about Epic Discovery [a full slate of adventure-activity offerings that debuted this summer] and the team-building options this brings to our community and to our meeting attendees.”

Whether a team is still working from home, or has made a phased return to the office, the past few months have seemed monotonous with not as many in-person meetings and events to break up work weeks. Meeting with a group boosts motivation, and Zoom meetings can’t compare when it comes to rallying morale. After months at home, planning small meetings and corporate getaways away from home is a great way to motivate and revitalize a team’s performance–especially when the destination provides all of the benefits that Colorado offers.

 

As working from home has become the norm since March, so has connecting with coworkers using webcams and Skype. Button downs and sweatpants have become a work-friendly outfit, and Zoom happy hours were the only way to grab a drink with friends. Especially for teams that used to meet in the office every day, a chance to shake up the (new) same old and safely reconnect in person is much needed after months apart. An out-of-state trip could be a memorable way to sync up with coworkers again, as well as do wonders for motivation and productivity upon return.

 

So far, webcams and Zoom meetings have been an essential part of 2020. While digital options are functional placeholders for meetings, chatting with a coworker over Skype doesn’t always set up a team for success. Human connection is vital to team building, and hosting safe, small meetings is a great way to revitalize teams after months of working from home.