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ACRA forum Tuesday will tackle tourism, health care and real estate – Aspen Times

Tourism, health insurance, digital marketing and real estate are among the topics of discussion at the Business Outlook Forum scheduled 8:30 a.m. Tuesday on Zoom.

The Aspen Chamber Resort Association is putting on the virtual and inaugural event that is open to ACRA members and the public. You can register ahead of time at

“After a year of not knowing what is in store, ACRA is thrilled to host the inaugural Business Outlook Forum,” said Alycin Bektesh, ACRA communications manager. “This event reconnects our member network and offers valuable insider knowledge to help business owners and their staff prepare for Aspen’s exciting upcoming summer.”

Presentations are scheduled to be made from Aspen Mayor Torre, Aspen City Manager Sara Ott and members of Pitkin County Public Health. ACRA president Debbie Braun will serve as moderator.

Aspen businesses are preparing for another summer hopping with tourists. The Aspen Chamber Resort Association will hold a virtual event Tuesday, the inaugural Business Outlook Forum, to address issues facing businesses today. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)

As well, Insights Collective members Barb Taylor, Dave Bellin, Tom Foley and Ralf Garrison will speak about the state of tourism that will include a conversation with Aspen Skiing Co. CEO Mike Kaplan. The Insights Collective was formed by a group of tourism veterans in the wake of the pandemic with a goal to help destination-related businesses create a forward-thinking plan while navigating the changing conditions of the tourism industry. Their work has been featured weekly in The Aspen Times since March, and published another series last fall.

Health insurance, always a hot topic locally, will be tackled by Brian Blasé, CEO of Blasé Policy Strategies; Kevin Patterson, CEO of Connect for Health Colorado; and Chris McDowell, Executive Director/Valley Health Alliance.

Local real estate speakers will include Andrew Ernemann, owner/broker associate, Aspen Snowmass Sotheby’s International Realty; Randy Gold, partner, Aspen Appraisal Group; and Karen Setterfield, president, Setterfield & Bright.

Following the forum’s scheduled 10 a.m. ending, breakout sessions will take place until noon. The sessions are free to ACRA members and $15 for non-members.

Topics will include:

Individual Coverage Health Reimbursement Arrangement (ICHRA), 10-11 a.m. — Learn about ICHRA as an alternative to group health insurance plans. ICHRAs are a new, more affordable way to offer flexible and affordable health insurance coverage to employees.

Presenters will include Brad O’Neill, co-founder of The ICHRA Shop; John Kelly, CEO of NexBen and an ICHRA early adopter; Chris McDowell, executive director of Valley Health Alliance; Joe Crosbie, consultant, Mountain West Insurance; and Colin Laird, executive director, Third Street Center, and ICHRA client.

Social Marketing Tips & Strategies during and after the COVID-19 Crisis, 11 a.m. to noon — Digital marketing strategies and tips to help businesses navigate the waters of COVID-19. Learn how to use the various online tools available and develop valuable strategies to help your organization hit the ground running both during and after the crisis.

Brian V. Matson, senior director of strategy and education of TwoSix Digital, will lead the presentation, which will focus on:

• Key themes and sentiments your business/organization needs to communicate to consumers during (and after) this time of reopening

• Best practices for day-to-day social media and reputation management on major review sites

• What tools you need to deploy (and use) before running your next paid digital marketing effort

• Tips and tricks to deliver high-impact digital advertising and organic posts

• What additional education tools are available to help you continue to innovate and improve over time

More details at or 970-925-1940.



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