Colorado Event Planning Resources

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Colorado’s Event Planning Resources

Associations, DMOs and DMCs stand ready to provide planners with assistance, networking and learning

 

By Beth Buehler

 

During my nearly 20 years of involvement in the meetings and Colorado event planning industry in the U.S. Mountain West, one thing has become obvious: the state has a wealth of event planning resources. A huge bonus is that the organizations and businesses providing these resources work closely together, so it’s a teamwork versus competitive philosophy to bring business to the state and to serve clients well.

Planners visiting booths and networking with suppliers at the Colorado Meetings Showcase, photo by Christie's Photographic Solutions

Destination Colorado Meetings

In terms of pairing meeting and event planners with destinations, lodging, venues and various other suppliers around the state, Destination Colorado Meetings is the ideal connector. The organization has about 160 members, with all bringing extensive experience working with groups to the table.

 

Not only can Colorado event planning pros browse the helpful Destination Colorado Meetings website by region, community, venues and supplier category, but there is also an easy online RFP process that planners can utilize to plug in information about their group’s needs for a specific gathering. The RFP then goes to members who fit the indicated parameters.

In addition, Destination Colorado Meetings hosts the annual Colorado Meetings Showcase and invites Colorado event planning professionals to connect with nearly 100 Colorado suppliers in a trade-show format and enjoy local entertainment, food and drink. In 2024, the showcase will be held on Dec. 4 at Infinity Park Event Center in Glendale. The organization also has a booth and books appointments at IMEX in Las Vegas, attends other trade shows, and hosts a Customer Appreciation Event that showcases destinations and experiences throughout the state.

 

Industry Associations

While Destination Colorado Meetings specializes in linking planners from around the country and beyond with Colorado suppliers, the various other meetings and events related associations in the state have different missions.

 

Meeting planners also should consider attending the annual Meetings Industry Council (MIC) of Colorado Educational Conference & Trade Show in March, which attracts nearly 1,000 attendees from across the country. As the name indicates, there are two days of keynotes, educational sessions, a large trade show and opportunities for networking, with the next one happening March 25-26, 2025, at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver.

 

MIC of Colorado’s mission is to enhance collaboration to foster the growth of the meetings and events industry in Colorado and beyond. The local and Rocky Mountain chapters of Meeting Professionals International (MPI), Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA), National Association of Catering & Events (NACE), Society of Government Meeting Professionals (SGMP) and National Speakers Association (NSA) and are among MIC of Colorado’s 12 member organizations. By teaming up, these organizations bring the industry together for one large conference instead of several, Colorado’s celebration of Global Meetings Industry Day in April, and the Serving Up Hope luncheon in November that benefits Food Bank of the Rockies.

Natasha Kulick and Jennifer Rayment from St. Julien Hotel and Spa (left) and Lindsey Rohrbaugh from Visit Boulder and Destination Colorado Meeting's vice president (right) visit with a meeting planner at the MIC of Colorado Conference, photo by InSync Photography

Meeting and event planners and suppliers have many great associations with their own specific niches—such as those already mentioned as well as the International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE) and Society for Incentive Travel Excellence (SITE) for example—to choose from in Colorado for education, networking and volunteer involvement.

 

DMOs & DMCs

In an industry that has its fair share of acronyms to decipher, here are two more that you’ll want to know when considering Colorado’s event planning resources.

 

The Events Industry Council (EIC) describes destination marketing organizations (DMOs) as

an “organization defined and recognized by its status as an incorporated, nonprofit agency or local government entity which promotes economic development of the community through travel and tourism.” In terms of how DMOs assist planners, EIC says they “provide information on local resources and services, site selection and other pre-conference and post-convention services.”

 

DMOs in Colorado vary in size based on community population and involvement in tourism, meetings and events. Colorado’s three largest cities—Denver, Colorado Springs and Aurora—have the largest DMOs in terms of staff and budget, but mid-size communities like Boulder, Loveland and Grand Junction certainly have DMOs along with mountain towns like Estes Park, Vail, Breckenridge and Glenwood Springs.

 

The services offered to planners and groups vary by town, but DMOs are excellent resources for information regarding local venues, lodging properties, caterers, transportation companies, entertainment, activities and more. Many also can help with providing photos and video to help promote a meeting or event.

VISIT DENVER team at their 2024 MIC Conference Booth, photo by InSync Photography

The Association of Destination Management Executives International defines a destination management company (DMC) as a “professional services company located in its destination and specializes in local expertise and resources.” Also, a DMC is a “strategic partner to provide creative local experiences in event management, tours/activities, transportation, entertainment and program logistics.”

 

DMCs in Colorado work in a variety of communities. Destination Colorado Meetings has eight DMC members that stand ready to assist in Denver, Colorado Springs, Beaver Creek, Aspen and beyond.

 

Why go it alone when there are such a wide range of event planning resources in Colorado to tap for ideas, education, networking, booking and implementation? Planners and suppliers truly benefit from all the connections and organizations!

 

Top Photo: Destination Colorado Meetings’ 2023 Customer Appreciation dinner event at Flying W Ranch in Colorado Springs, photo by Lucky Stars Film

 

Colorado native Beth Buehler has been editor of Colorado Meetings + Events magazine for 19 years, helped launch Mountain Meetings magazine, and was on the team that introduced Southwest Meetings + Events. She has planned numerous meetings and events and enjoys exploring Colorado.