`Don’t let delays affect your stay’
Nearly every local is sick and tired of dealing with traffic delays due to construction on Highway 82. Imagine trying to put a positive spin on the congestion.
That’s the tough task facing representatives of the Aspen Chamber Resort Association at its Rio Grande headquarters and Wheeler Opera House visitor’s center. In the thick of the summer, the ACRA greets an average of 700 people in person and handles 400 telephone calls per day, according to chamber President and CEO Christine Nolen.
Those front-line resort workers sometimes receive an earful from tourists these days about the traffic delays. The greeters have learned to anticipate when they will catch the worst of it.
“From about midday on Fridays we’re going to have some people coming in who are frustrated,” said Nolen.
Being the ambassadors for the resort, ACRA workers are trained to make the best of a difficult situation.
“Here’s the mantra: It’s going to be better for the community,” said Nolen.
She explained that ACRA greeters will typically say something like, “I’m sorry you had such a difficult time getting here, but it’s going to be worth it.”
They sometimes offer a cold drink and encourage out-of-towners to take a second to relax. Then they answer any questions the visitors have about dining, lodging or activities.
And it’s probably a safe bet that they face a question or two about how to hightail it out of town.
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A recent survey of Aspen residents shows that people are happy here, feel safe but are financially insecure.