Find and Book Your Ideal Colorado Meeting Venue
By Beth Buehler
You’ve determined that a meeting you are organizing will be held at a meeting venue in Colorado, or at least it’s one of the major contenders as a destination. Maybe it’s because your group is based in Colorado or in a region that’s nearby, the state is centrally located and easy to get to, or attendees and leadership have earmarked it as someplace they would like to visit for a meeting, retreat or incentive trip. For whatever reason, the bottom line is where do you go to find and book your ideal Colorado meeting venue?
That’s where Destination Colorado comes into play; in fact, it’s one of the major reasons the organization was established in 1993. Destination Colorado is a nonprofit organization designed to provide resources and information for meeting and event planners. The goal of the organization and its 130 members is to make the site selection and planning experience convenient and straightforward. It’s like having your own personal assistant.
Instead of casting a wide net, go straight to a gold mine of Colorado hotels, venues, destinations and service providers that are experienced working with groups. In Colorado, that’s Destination Colorado. Browse the Destination Colorado website by city or region, review a list of venues, and discover other helpful meeting services suppliers like destination management companies, A/V and activity providers, transportation firms and more. You also will find deals, details about how to apply for the Colorado Meeting and Events Incentive Program, and an easy RFP form to quickly reach Destination Colorado members that fit the parameters of your meeting. It’s an easy way to find and book your ideal Colorado meeting venue.
Moving to the Next Steps
If time is tight and you are juggling a slew of other responsibilities, bring on a destination management company (DMC) to help plan the meeting and any accompanying events and activities. DMCs can help find the best fits for lodging, meeting space, off-site venues, catering, décor and more. You want to provide choices of activities for one afternoon, hire top-tier entertainment and speakers and welcome attendees with the perfect welcome gift? No problem!
When you dial in the destination, also make sure to reach out the destination marketing organization (DMO). With the purpose of marketing their community to leisure and business travelers and groups, DMOs stand ready to assist usually in the form of a sales team, convention services staff or even the executive director in smaller communities. They can help generate ideas to fit your budget, meeting scope and group’s demographics so that everyone leaves the meeting happy.
Visiting the Destination & Venues
To find and book your ideal Colorado venue, it’s best to do site visits. When writing about destinations, venues and experiences, I can do a much better job if I’ve experienced these things. If I walk Pearl Street Mall in Boulder from Hotel Boulderado, I can get a feel for how attendees might spend their free time or walk to restaurants for a dine-around.
If I test out how busy executives will go through the process of renting and storing their skis and snowboards, the distance to a chairlift or gondola, and where to grab lunch and perhaps even continue the meeting on-mountain at Beaver Creek or Vail, I’m much more likely to be successful planning a retreat versus leaving it to chance. Or will that private dining room feel right and indeed provide the privacy needed for top-level discussions like the Grotto Suraboza or John Ls’ Wine Cellar and Uncorking Room at Devil’s Thumb Ranch Resort & Spa?
Plus meeting your on-site team—the people who will be making sure everything goes smoothly—pays huge dividends. Will they be a team player, are they innovative with ideas, and do they have great connections at local restaurants, outfitters and more?
If it’s just not in the cards to do a site visit, destinations and properties have become adept at providing virtual tours, interactive maps and other resources to make the process as insightful as possible.
Another way to connect with destinations and venues is by attending gatherings such as the Colorado Meetings Showcase hosted by Destination Colorado every December. Or if you attend IMEX in Las Vegas, make sure to stop by Destination Colorado’s large booth and make appointments with members in attendance to find and book your ideal venue in Colorado.
Colorado offers a wealth of options and 300 days of sunshine annually. It’s a perfect combination!
Top Photo: Fire pit gathering area at the slopeside Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Resort and Spa.
Beth Buehler has been editor of Colorado Meetings + Events magazine for 17 years and helped launch Mountain Meetings magazine in 2013. She has planned numerous meetings and events and enjoys exploring Colorado.