The Power of Collaboration

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The Power of Collaboration

Partnering with local businesses for successful Colorado events


By Beth Buehler


When planning a meeting or event in any destination, it is wise to not do it alone. Behold the power of collaboration! Why reinvent the wheel when partnering with local businesses can make the difference between pulling off a successful Colorado event that is truly memorable instead of simply marginal? The power of collaboration cannot be overstated as a meeting planning strategy.


Let’s look at what types of local businesses and organizations planners can connect with for helpful expertise and ideas that result in outstanding attendee experiences. Oftentimes, many of these entities already partner and know each other well.

A red Volkswagen van is parked in front of the Boulder Theater, which has a marquee advertising a "Global Climate Summit" with the tagline "Right Here Right Now.
Visit Boulder can help recommend cool local venues like Boulder Theater, courtesy Visit Boulder

Destination Marketing Organizations

One of the first stops for a meeting or event planner should be the local destination marketing organization (DMO), which is usually in the form of a convention and visitor bureau, tourism office, Chamber of Commerce, or a department within city government. Usually, the format depends on the size of community.


DMOs that represent towns that frequently host groups often have a sales team or at least someone who has that task as part of their role. In smaller destinations, it might even be the executive director. However, the bottom line is that DMOs typically can connect planners to hotel properties, venues, attractions, activities and other suppliers that best fit their needs. A large group of doctors who are meeting, learning about new techniques and technology and bringing their families for a ski outing in Snowmass have very different needs than distillers attending the American Craft Spirits Association’s annual convention held in Denver this past February.


Destination Management Companies

Another important local player and with a very similar acronym is a destination management company (DMC). What’s the difference? According to the Association of Destination Management Executives International, a DMC is “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 have worked with many clients in their respective destinations, so they can share the standout features at various venues or what transportation company has a nice fleet to pick up VIPs at the airport. Also, DMCs know what caterers are approved to serve specific venues and what restaurants can be bought out or have nice private dining rooms or patios. You get the idea.

A dining area is set up with tables and chairs inside a structure resembling an airplane cabin. The tables are adorned with flowers and candles.
DMCs like Colorado-based RMC help pull all aspects of an event together with partners, including those who design props and florals, courtesy RMC

Hotels and Resorts

Sales teams from lodging properties certainly know their stuff about on-site function space, lodging, catering, spa services and other activities, but they also realize that many groups today seek off-site options for a ranch dinner, team-building exercises, historic tours, or progressive dining or drinking experiences. Like DMCs, hotels and resorts work with many groups and hear about what is making Colorado events successful. It’s all about the power of collaboration between the different entities that keep groups coming back for more.


Venues and Attractions

As mentioned, venues and attractions sometimes have exclusive or partner catering companies that know their meeting and event spaces and kitchens. Sales teams from these places also can frequently link planners to décor companies that again know the spaces and have been known to transform them into something fantastic and to use existing features to the max. Planning decor in an art museum is very different than a warehouse for example.


Venues and attractions also may have preferred audiovisual providers that regularly make presentations, awards dinners and entertainment sets go off without a hitch. Why take the risk on a company that no one knows when you don’t have to?


Culinary Providers

Caterers, restaurants, personal chefs, breweries, distilleries and wineries also have partnerships and insider expertise that can be tapped. Likewise, Rocky Mountain Food Tours in Colorado Springs and other food tour companies in Denver, Vail or Fort Collins work with all sorts of restaurants in their destinations so why not ask if any of their partners have private dining space that could work well for a dinner?


Your caterer also is likely to know what farmers might be willing to stop by your gathering and talk about what they produce and perhaps give a farm tour or make dinner in the field a reality.


Caterers can tap into local producers to create a harvest table like this one, courtesy Serendipity Catering

Other Suppliers

Don’t underestimate the power of collaboration that reaches any sector of the meetings and events industry, which also includes transportation, photographers, entertainment, audiovisual companies and more. For example, a transportation provider may be able to link you to a quality DMC, and an audiovisual company can pair you with the ideal concert venue for a big-name entertainer.


Statewide Organization

And what about a statewide partner that can link planners to local businesses that are skilled at partnering for successful Colorado events? Destination Colorado Meetings is that organization. Not only does Destination Colorado Meetings have more than 160 members that frequently partner to host meetings and events, but the organization also offers a simple online RFP process. Planners can simply fill in their meeting and event details and members that match these parameters receive the RFP.


Destination Colorado Meetings also holds its own events like the Colorado Meetings Showcase, Customer Appreciation Event and educational meetings for members so frequently works with destinations, venues and suppliers to make a gathering go off in style.


The power of collaboration is more important than ever. Plus, it makes planning simpler and more enjoyable!


Top Photo: Operation Altitude, a 30-year Colorado DMC, brought together several partners to make the North Face Kickoff Sales a reality


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.