By Beth Buehler
A friend from Aspen once told me living in Colorado is like a vacation every day. So true. Whether residing in the mountains, on the Front Range or along the Western Slope, there is great access to amazing outdoor recreation, terrific places for local food and drink, and mind-expanding cultural opportunities. What better place to bring a group for incentive travel than a place where even locals feel like they are living a dream?
Here are a few ideas to make a Colorado incentive trip one to remember long after the excursion is over.
- Resorts Make it Easy – Many incentive trips happen at resorts, according to a recent conversation that I had with Melissa Layton, principal of Vail-based Operation Altitude, a destination management company. Destinations like Aspen, Vail, Beaver Creek, Telluride, Steamboat and Colorado Springs make it easy due to the presence of resorts like Four Seasons Resort and Residences Vail, Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Resort and Spa, Madeline Hotel and Residences Telluride, Sheraton Steamboat Resort, and Cheyenne Mountain Resort and The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs.
Destination Colorado has a whole list of member resorts that are worthy. They are in destinations people hear about, and the resorts and destination management companies make it easy to plan and execute worry-free and memorable incentive travel. RMC, a destination management company headquartered in Aspen and with offices around the U.S. Mountain West, Texas and Mexico, teams up St. Regis Aspen and other partners in Aspen to show prospective clients the possibilities during an incentive ski week every spring. I’m guessing it doesn’t take much convincing!
- Go Unique – Another attractive thing about Colorado is that there are distinct, one-of-a-kind properties that will have incentive attendees hoping they can bring back their families and friends to share what they experienced at places like C Lazy U Ranch and Devil’s Thumb Ranch Resort and Spa in Grand County, Gateway Canyons in Gateway, Wine Country Inn in Palisade and Garden of the Gods Club and Resort in Colorado Springs.
- Think Out-of-the-Box – Snowmass Tourism has helped develop a new adventure travel-focused receptive tour operator, Ursus Adventures, that is headquartered in Snowmass but feature fully guided, full-service itineraries for small groups of 12 to 14 that span a number of Colorado’s great mountain towns like Aspen, Snowmass, Telluride, Durango and Crested Butte. Groups from the United States don’t need to go to the ends of the earth for great adventure travel, they can enjoy it right here,” suggests Fred Brosky, group sales director for Snowmass Tourism. Another bonus is that this type of incentive travel involves charming smaller Colorado properties.
- Don’t Follow the Norm – Why not plan an incentive trip for terrific cities like Denver and Boulder? Living in the mountains, I love getaways to these communities to get my fix on the latest culinary hot spots, hip properties like Hotel Monaco Denver and St Julien Hotel and Spa in Boulder, cultural attractions, concerts and activities like progressive restaurant and brewery tours, some that even involve a crazy bus or huge bike with multiple seats.
The bottom line is to know your group and what would truly be an incentive for performance or continuing allegiance to your organization. Also, don’t forget the amenities like a warm base layer, hat and gloves for a ski trip; the chance to download and print photos showing all the fun; and a care package like trail mix, sunscreen, chapstick and bottled water for sunny outdoor excursions. And most of all, have fun!
Beth Buehler is editor of Colorado Meetings + Events and Mountain Meetings magazines, has planned numerous meetings and events and enjoys exploring Colorado in all seasons.