Top 10 Reasons to Host Your Event in Colorado
By Beth Buehler
Thinking about where to host an event? When booking a gathering, it can be tough to narrow down the options. Sometimes it is a matter of where attendees are traveling from and how they will get there, while other times it’s about how a group will tune into the sense of place. Here are the top 10 reasons to host your event in Colorado.
Wide Range of Destinations
It never gets old traveling around Colorado as there are so many great locations to visit and gather. Match your group’s size, demographics, interests and budget with the right place through talking to local representatives of destination management companies and destination marketing organizations and supplier sales teams. There are all sorts of mountain communities (with ski slopes and without), a wide range of sizes of communities (from small to urban), and regions to explore like Summit County where you can enjoy the benefit of accessing several ski resorts and towns.
Whether it is fly-fishing a Gold Medal stream in the Roaring Fork Valley or attending a concert at the iconic Red Rocks Amphitheatre, there are plenty of opportunities to tap into authentic Colorado. The state ranks fifth in the nation for the number of craft breweries (428), according to the Boulder-based Brewers Association, so a tour and taste is always fun as is staying at one of the historic downtown hotels like Hotel Boulderado in Boulder, Hotel Colorado in Glenwood Springs, or Strater Hotel in Durango.
What is the western spirit? To me it is involves friendliness, a sense of adventure, determination, innovation, wide-open spaces, and gathering around firepits or campfires under the stars. Stay at a guest ranch like C Lazy U Ranch or Devil’s Thumb Ranch Resort and Spa, take a train ride on the Durango Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad or Georgetown Loop Railroad, attend a rodeo in Snowmass Village or Greeley, or go on a horseback or sleigh ride to dinner.
Rich History & Culture
Colorado played a starring role in the settling of The West and the development of the ski industry. As a result, there is a healthy dose of mining, ranching, farming and skiing history to explore at various attractions along with insights into how key cities like Denver, Colorado Springs, and Pueblo sprang to life. Make sure to get out of hotels and convention centers to explore Colorado’s vibrant downtowns, and take advantage of offerings at art museums, concert venues, performing arts centers and more.
A Helping Hand
Destination Colorado Meetings is a nonprofit organization that provides resources and information for meeting and event planners to help plan, organize and host and event. Among Destination Colorado’s more than 130 members, discover solutions to every requirement and planning challenge ranging from venues, lodging and activities to audiovisual, photography, destination management companies and more. Destination Colorado Meetings’ RFP process makes it easy to enter your meeting and event information, members that meet the criteria outlined respond back.
It pays to meet in Colorado. The state’s Colorado Meeting and Events Incentive program provides pre-approved applicants with a 10% rebate up to $100,000 against the eligible costs of hosting meetings and events that take place before June 30, 2024. Destination Colorado Meetings can answer questions about the incentive and help walk you through the application process.
Easy to Access
Denver International Airport has an enviable location in the center of the United States, recently added 39 new gates to increase capacity, and is currently the third busiest airport in the world. That means plentiful options for groups. Colorado also has regional airports across the state, making it easy to fly to Grand Junction, Colorado Springs, Durango, Vail, Gunnison/Crested Butte and more. When in Denver, light rail connects the airport, city and various outlying communities and Amtrak runs from the city to Grand Junction, with stops in Glenwood Springs and Granby along the way. In winter, Amtrak Winter Park Express takes skiers from Denver Union Station directly to the ski slopes in Winter Park and back.
Colorado is one of the healthiest states in the nation, and residents takes pride in staying fit, eating well, getting outdoors and engaging in wellness activities like yoga and meditation. When meeting in Colorado, talk to caterers and host properties about healthy meals and breaks, schedule activities that get people moving, offer spa treatments, and discover an abundance of speakers and athletes who can share great stories and tips on the topic of wellness. In fact, 100 winter Olympians have had ties to Steamboat Springs over the years (more than any other town in the United States), and the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Training Center is in Colorado Springs.
Colorado excels at outdoor fun, whether you are exploring plains, cities or mountains. There are plenty of outfitters who can help make whitewater rafting, hiking, rock climbing, biking, snowshoeing, snowmobiling and easier for groups when you host an event that includes activities like that. At ski resorts, book instructors and guides to ensure all attendees have the best experience possible.
From Posh to Lower-Key
Sometimes you want to pull out all the stops and gather at luxury hotels in Colorado’s world-renowned destinations like Aspen, Vail and Beaver Creek. Denver and Colorado Springs have their fair share of high-end properties as well. Then there are lower-key options that are sure to please like YMCA of the Rockies’ Estes Park Center and Snow Mountain Ranch in Granby, which are huge properties with various lodging options, meal plans, and a wealth of activities. Meeting at local fair grounds and community centers can be economical choices or check out mid-mountain venues for something a bit more upscale and reached by gondolas, chairlifts or snowcats.
I hope these top 10 reasons to host an event in Colorado have proven helpful. We’re a four- season state with 300 days of sunshine annually, so dates to host memorable gathering are plentiful.
Top Photo: Courtesy C Lazy U Ranch
Colorado native Beth Buehler has been editor of Colorado Meetings + Events magazine for 17 years, helped launch Mountain Meetings magazine, and is on the team introducing Southwest Meetings + Events soon. She has planned numerous meetings and events and enjoys exploring Colorado.