Top 10 Reasons to Host Your Event in Colorado
By Beth Buehler
When thinking about why I like to attend gatherings in my home state, it didn’t take long to come up with a list of top 10 reasons to host your event in Colorado.
When gathering the troops to connect or celebrate, why not do so surrounding by natural beauty? It’s one of Colorado’s best assets, along with 300 days of sunshine annually. Also, it’s helpful to have attendees enthusiastic about the place a meeting or event is happening. Colorado scores high as a bucket-list destination and a favorite place to return for both business and leisure travel. Let’s get on with the show … here’s the top 10 list!
Vibrant Cities – One the many attractive aspects of hosting a meeting in one of Colorado’s cities is that the mountains are often nearby, making it a nice blend of urban and outdoors. In Denver alone, rooftop venues like those at VIB Hotel Denver, The Rally Hotel, The Jacquard Hotel & Rooftop, Thompson Denver, and Halcyon, a Cherry Creek hotel capitalize on the numerous blue-sky days and the city and mountain views. The Denver metropolitan area also has great amphitheaters for outdoor concerts and gatherings in the form of Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre and Fiddler’s Green Amphitheatre, and the 8,000-seat Sunset Amphitheater is opening in Colorado Springs next year. Some of the largest meeting and event spaces are in Denver and Colorado Springs, such as the Colorado Convention Center, Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center, Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel, and The Broadmoor. Plus, there are all sorts of museums and attractions that provide amazing backdrops for events.
Cool Mountain Towns – Cool can mean two things: not hot in the summer and loads of personality. If you are looking for ski-town vibe, there options for various budgets and tastes ranging from internationally known Aspen, Breckenridge and Vail to free-spirited Crested Butte, ultra-charming Telluride and laidback Steamboat Springs. Other mountain towns like Estes Park, Georgetown, Buena Vista and Salida don’t have ski resorts right out the back door but deliver just as many activities, have bustling downtown districts and a variety of great venues. From properties that offer a wide range of lodging types and prices like YMCA of the Rockies’ Estes Park Center and Snow Mountain Ranch to high-end luxury properties like Four Seasons Resort & Residences Vail and The Little Nell in Aspen, Colorado’s mountain towns have you covered!
Outdoor Options – We’ve already touched on this a bit, but Colorado excels in providing memorable times in the great outdoors, no matter where you host a meeting or event. Most communities have trails for walking, running, hiking and biking in free time, and there are countless rivers and lakes for rafting, kayaking and fishing. Or hold meetings, breaks, luncheons and receptions outdoors to go beyond four walls for at least part of the day. Most venues expanded their outdoor offerings during the height of the COVID pandemic, and we are still benefitting from that fact.
Taste of the West – Colorado’s heritage is rich from Native American history and Gold Rush days to iconic hotels built in the late 1800s and picturesque downtowns that are on the National Register of Historic Places. Host a gathering at one of the state’s beautiful ranches, book a horseback ride to dinner in Snowmass Village, or check out the amazing western art collections at Denver Art Museum and The Broadmoor. Ask your caterer or hotel’s food or beverage team to provide a literal taste of the west that can be as casual or elegant as you please.
Rich Culinary Scene – Speaking of delicious dishes and drinks, MICHELIN Guide is revealing its first-ever Colorado Guide selections on Sept. 12. Earlier in 2023, Colorado was announced as the eighth MICHELIN Guide destination in North America with Aspen, Beaver Creek, Boulder, Denver, Snowmass Village, and Vail to be featured. When scheduling an event, tie into foods grown locally, find chefs that can make your event truly memorable, and offer local brews, spirits and wines.
Wide Range of Venues – There are sizable convention and conference centers in places like Denver, Keystone and Pueblo; beautiful sports complexes in communities such as Colorado Springs, Loveland and Denver; amazing zoos with event venues in Denver and Colorado Springs; and performing arts centers in Beaver Creek, Denver and Fort Collins. When speaking with destination marketing organizations, find out what attractions are available to book that provide a nice look at local culture and inquire about what type of hotel might fit best, whether historic, brand new, recently renovated or something in between.
Off-the-Beaten Path Gems – Sometimes going the extra mile to reach places results in both privacy and ultra-memorable gatherings. Gateway Canyons Resort & Spa in the Western Slope town of Gateway is the perfect example along with The Nature Place, a conference center in Florissant that is located on 6,000 acres. Mount Princeton Hot Springs in Nathrop is a blissful combination of hot springs, meeting space and accommodations.
Supplier Partnerships – One thing that is truly unique about Colorado is the fact that hotels, venues, caterers, audiovisual companies, activity providers, and other meeting and event suppliers work closely to bring groups to Colorado. A perfect example is Destination Colorado Meetings, a nonprofit that has about 130 members that team up to promote the state, attend trade shows, host the annual Colorado Meetings Showcase, organize a Client Appreciation Event, and network at educational sessions. They also offer a unified RFP process through Destination Colorado Meetings website.
Helpful DMOs and DMCs – Destination marketing organizations (DMOs) and destination management companies (DMCs) also are a vital part of the meetings and events equation in Colorado and are well represented among Destination Colorado Meetings’ membership. DMOs and DMCs are the local experts and should be part of any planner’s team when coordinating a conference, incentive trip, sales meeting or any corporate, association or nonprofit gathering.
Incentives to Meet in Colorado – We might as well finish off big. The Colorado Tourism Office is offering a Meetings & Events Incentive Cash Rebate Program that provides a 10% cash rebate of up to $100,000 against eligible hard costs for hosting meetings and events in Colorado through June 30, 2024. Hurry though, as once all the available funds are committed, any remaining applications are placed on a wait list. Staff members from Destination Colorado Meetings are available to provide additional information and to answer questions.
I hope this list of top 10 reasons to host your event in Colorado has been helpful. I could easily add 10 more but you get the picture. The Centennial State should be on your list of must-consider places for your next meeting or event.
Photo by Beth Buehler
Colorado native Beth Buehler has been editor of Colorado Meetings + Events magazine for 18 years, helped launch Mountain Meetings magazine, and was on the team that introduced Southwest Meetings + Events this summer. She has planned numerous meetings and events and enjoys exploring Colorado.