There’s no question in our line of work that the people—both the hardworking professionals and the guests we all serve—are the heart and soul of what we do. And, at The Little Nell in Aspen, Colo., there are no exceptions to providing anything but top-of-the-line service. Personally, the best part of working in this industry is working with The Little Nell’s five-star, five-diamond team, known for their intelligent and anticipatory guest service that ensures guests have memorable and exceptional experiences while in Aspen.
Since our doors opened 27 years ago, our vision has always been to brand The Little Nell as a memorable destination that serves as an extension of our guests’ homes, while also creating a positive work environment to generate jobs and other opportunities for our surrounding communities. Colorado is known to attract avid sportsmen, athletes, and outdoorsmen to leisure travelers year-round, and The Little Nell underscores the best our industry has to offer.
Of course, we want to be able to share our story with visitors, community members, and public officials alike. At the end of May, several of our employees and I were fortunate to be able to share some of those personal stories with U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner.
It was our distinct pleasure to welcome Sen. Gardner to The Nell during one of the American Hotel & Lodging Association’s “Heart of the House” hotel tour programs, in which the association connects members of Congress with local hoteliers and employees. These visits aim to raise awareness about the impact of hospitality in congressional leaders’ districts while discussing policies that matter most to our industry.
We proudly create jobs with attractive benefits (along with fun perks, such as ski passes and special discounts at our four ski areas). Indeed, hospitality is one of the largest employment sectors in Colorado. We offer a path to long-term career possibilities, providing a fast-track to promotions and advancement options. Increasing the flow of domestic and foreign visitors, we attract clientele that contributes to economic opportunities and helps generate nearly $1 billion in tax revenue for local governments. We support our surrounding communities and boost local development by promoting travel and tourism, driving businesses, and strengthening local capital and prosperity. The success of our industry directly correlates to dynamic growth, as we continue to be one of the top 10 largest industries in every state across the country.
Touring the property as we intermittently met staff, Sen. Gardner and I discussed the many triumphs and challenges of operating and maintaining a five-star resort, as well as policy initiatives that could help garner more business. There are so many elements to consider when running a hotel, from exemplifying superior customer service and working with our engineers to keep the hotel up to code, to ensuring our food and beverage services are exemplary, and, of course, making sure the laundry and all back-of-the-house departments are running up to speed. Sen. Gardner was exposed to an in-depth look at the blood, sweat, and tears that come with operating a property of this size and scale. We even put him to work pressing and folding bed sheets and then arranged a meet-and-greet with our chefs at The Little Nell’s five-star restaurant, Element 47.
With all the moving parts in just one hotel property, there’s no doubt that we look to members of Congress like Sen. Gardner to support a myriad of important policy initiatives that will help us bolster hotel businesses and support invaluable jobs that sustain so many economic lifelines in communities across the country. We discussed important issues with Sen. Gardner, from raising awareness about how to avoid deceptive booking practices fostered by some online travel agencies and their third-party affiliates, to emphasizing the importance of travel and tourism promotion, and revealing onerous workforce burdens that stunt job creation and employee advancement. Sharing our perspectives and telling our industry’s unique story of dynamic growth and community involvement with the elected officials who debate and legislate these policies every day will only help us become more formidable as an industry.
The Little Nell thanks Sen. Gardner for taking the time to visit us and giving us the opportunity to illustrate how the hotel industry has been a bright spot in economic resurgence and the employment landscape, with continued growth projected in the coming years. Critical to generating and maintaining this growth has been, and will be, government and industry recognizing the value of government, business, and leisure travel here in Colorado and across the United States. We hope to see Sen. Gardner again soon, and next time hope to also go fly fishing or hit the slopes!
About the Author
Jonathan Fillman is the hotel manager at The Little Nell.