By Beth Buehler
Making sure attendees successfully get from point A to point B (and maybe even C, D and E) and the manner in which it’s done can make or break a gathering. In Colorado, there are the more traditional ways of offering Colorado group transportation as well as distinct options like sleighs, snowcats, gondolas, chairlifts and pedicabs. All are important and dependent upon group size and location.
Last summer, I was attending a national conference and waited nearly an hour for a bus to arrive in order to attend an off-site reception and awards gala. A few of us ended up finding our own ride and still missed most of the reception, which was disappointing as it was set up beautifully outside on a perfect Colorado summer evening. There simply weren’t enough buses to shuttle the group from the hotel to the venue in a short amount of time, and I learned to show up for the earlier time slots next time.
These types of situations can be a meeting and event planner’s worst nightmare, so it’s important to choose transportation providers carefully, match the type of transportation with the expectations of attendees, and think outside the box to transform transportation from a “must have” to a “that was fun!”
Some transportation provides like Colorado Gray Line can both customize sightseeing/experience tours for groups and provide transportation for meetings and conventions. With offices in Colorado Springs and Denver, Colorado Gray Line offers traditional scheduled sightseeing outings (city and mountain tours, Rocky Mountain National Park excursions, etc.), but its main focus is on providing custom tours for groups, airport shuttles, and transportation to special events utilizing limousines, shuttles and buses.
Epic Mountain Express focuses on the mountains, offering door-to-door airport transportation from Denver International Airport (DIA) and Eagle County Regional Airport (EGE) and serving towns like Breckenridge, Keystone, Copper Mountain, Vail, Beaver Creek, Aspen, Snowmass and surrounding communities. Around-town transfers for groups and special events also are available using 10- to 12-passenger vehicles and 4WD luxury SUVs for up to five guests. Plus, hourly service in 12- and 14-passenger vehicles is available.
Cutting-edge technology solutions are a priority for Denver-based Hermes Worldwide to help make it easy to manage transportation from online booking, real-time trip status alerts and GPS vehicle tracking to integrated FAA flight monitoring. Staff members help planners manage manifests, stay within budget and match the company’s modern fleet with needs such as airport transfers, VIP or executive transportation, and group event transportation. Greeter service and on-site coordinators are available to help make the airport arrival process welcoming instead of frustrating. Any group size from 20 to 1,000-plus can be served.
Also Denver based, Jay’s Valet has been a premier valet parking company for events, private parties and commercial accounts in Colorado and beyond since 1985. In Colorado, luxury transportation, pedicab services and other event services (e.g., airport meet and greet, coat checks and traffic direction) are available in Denver, Aspen, Vail and beyond. Jay’s Valet partners with well-known venues such as the Denver Art Museum, National Western Stock Show, Wings Over the Rockies, University of Denver, The Cable Center and EXDO Event Center for some of the largest events in The Mile High City and serves an average of 1,500 private celebrations annually.
So what are pedicabs? They fall under the distinct category mentioned and are essentially pedal-powered taxis also known as “bicycle rickshaws.” They are a memorable and fairly common way to get around downtown Denver that can be harnessed for groups.
In the mountains and on ranches also consider sleigh, 4X4, horse-drawn wagon and snowcat rides to lunch and dinner. At ski resorts like Vail, Winter Park, Steamboat Springs, Telluride and Aspen, gondolas are a classic enclosed option for easily reaching on-mountain venues while admiring the views. A popular attraction, Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park in Glenwood Springs, recently installed a new gondola that can carry 1,000 passengers per hour.
There are all sorts of group transportation options, and destination marketing organizations and destination management companies can help guide the way in finding the best solutions.
Beth Buehler is editor of Colorado Meetings + Events and Mountain Meetings magazines, has planned numerous meetings and events and enjoys exploring Colorado.