Colorado’s New Meeting & Events Incentive Rebate Promotion

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Colorado’s New Meeting & Events Incentive Rebate Promotion

By Beth Buehler

Groups planning meeting and events, this one is for you! In June 2021, the General Assembly passed a Colorado’s New Meeting & Events Incentive Rebate Promotion to assist in the state’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Not only are the incentives impressive, there is no wading through all the details as Destination Colorado has done that for you and the Colorado Tourism Office is managing the program, so it will be user-friendly.

Colorado has long been a bucket-list destination for travelers and groups seeking a taste of the West, friendly hospitality, impressive cities, creative cuisine, abundant outdoor activities and beautiful mountain communities. Combine those facts with this new bonus of financial assistance in the form of an incentive rebate promotion, encourages and helps groups get back into the practice or meeting face-to-face again. It’s a win-win for everyone!

In order to receive the cash rebate, the applicant must be the primary organizer or the meeting/event planner responsible for organizing and paying for the event. An applicant can receive a maximum of two rebates from Colorado’s new Meeting & Events Incentive Program per calendar year.

How the Program Works

There are three main areas of support offered by the program. First, it provides pre-approved applicants with a 10% rebate (between $3,500 and $100,000) against the eligible hard costs (see list below) of hosting meetings and events.

Second, Colorado’s new Meeting & Events Incentive Program may provide rebates of up to 25% for A/V support for hybrid events when in-person attendance is capped by public health orders or other mandates issued in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Finally, support is also available to attract community-wide events that have the potential to generate significant economic impact and affect multiple counties. Funding support not to exceed 5% of the total appropriation for the program. 

Eligible Events

  • NEW Colorado meetings and events booked and operated in Colorado between July 1, 2021 and December 31, 2022.
  • Previously booked meetings and events operating in Colorado between July 1, 2021 and December 31, 2022 that are at risk of being canceled, postponed or relocated to other states.
  • Fit under one of following categories: business meetings, conferences, conventions, exhibitions, trade shows, consumer shows, festivals and weddings.
  • Generate at least 25 paid overnight stays in a motel, hotel, vacation rental or other lodging establishments.
  • The cash rebate cannot be less than $3,500 (meaning a gathering must have eligible hard costs of at least $35,000). The cash rebate cannot exceed $100,000 (which is the maximum rebate for $1 million or more in eligible hard costs).

Eligible Hard Costs

Approved meetings and events can receive a 10% cash rebate for the following eligible hard costs associated with hosting the gathering. It’s a sweet list!

Event Space/Venue Rental – Room rental, event staging, security, traffic control

Event Rentals – Tables, seating, decor, tents, dinnerware, flatware, glassware, linens

Food/Beverage – Meals, beverages (excluding alcoholic beverages), service labor fees

Audiovisual Support – Microphones, screens/projectors, other specialized equipment, internet access, service labor fees

Entertainment – Speakers, DJs, performing acts that are part of an otherwise planned event

Registration & Event Management – Event management technology software that handles online event registration; virtual, hybrid and onsite solutions; and attendee engagement

Transportation – Shuttle service to move overnight guests on a meeting or event’s master account to and from the event/venue space and to and from the airport to the hotel; individual guest receipts are not eligible

Non-Eligible Hard Costs

There are some non-eligible budget items, so read this over carefully. The list is short!

  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Lodging and resort fees
  • Print and web design work including but not limited to logo, event website, invitations and event collateral such as signage
  • Ancillary functions not occurring at the event or venue space
  • If a hard cost is not listed above in the “Eligible Hard Costs” section, it is not eligible for reimbursement with this program

How the Program Works

  1. Interested applicants must submit an online application and be pre-approved to participate in the incentive rebate promotion. If your meeting or event meets the general criteria above, download the Application Worksheet here.
  2. Once you have completed the Application Worksheet and gathered the necessary information, access the Online Application Portal that can be found under the Meeting & Events Incentive tab. Create a new account, and then log in upon future visits. It takes at least 48 hours for a new user account to be activated make sure to do this as soon as possible.
  3. An application must be submitted at least 30 days before the meeting occurs. The only exception is for meetings and events occurring from July 1–31, 2021, which is due to the fact that the program was recently approved and systems are getting set up. In this case, organizers must submit an application no later than 14 days after the gathering has occurred to be eligible.
  4. Incentive funds are subject to availability and will be awarded based on ability to meet the selection criteria. In order to create more economic impact earlier in the state, events will be prioritized by the date of the event. When the funds are depleted, applications will no longer be accepted or approved.
  5. Mark your calendar, as within 60 days of the pre-approved meeting or event end date, all required documentation must be submitted. Verification is made before the reimbursement is paid directly to the primary organizer of the event or to the meeting/event planner.

Colorado is open for business and is known for rolling out the red carpet for groups. And now there are some greenbacks involved with this easy incentive rebate promotion, along with guidance as always from Destination Colorado as well. The organization’s 130+ members specialize in working with meeting and event planners and groups and are united in offering a one-stop RFP process. Planners can quickly plug in meeting and event details on Destination Colorado’s RFP and reach out to all sorts of suppliers that fit these parameters all out once. No, it’s not Christmas come earl, but it’s close!

Photo: Colorado is full of big scenery like impressive Gothic Mountain and colorful fields of wildflowers. Photo by Beth Buehler.

Beth Buehler has been editor of Colorado Meetings + Events magazine for 16 years and helped launch Mountain Meetings magazine in 2013. She has planned numerous meetings and events and enjoys exploring Colorado.