By Beth Buehler
Looking for an event location that gets people excited about attending and perhaps even lingering longer? Colorado is an ideal destination for both gatherings and add-on travel, and the Destination Colorado website is a information-filled resource that connects event planners to a talented team of partners well-versed at assisting corporate and leisure groups.
Here are some tips to help make planning a Colorado event a breeze.
Cities, Mountains or Plains – Colorado’s geography and landscapes are distinct, running the gamut from mountain ranges that exceed 14,000 feet around Aspen, Telluride and Buena Vista to the beautiful plains where bison still roam in herds near Fort Collins and Denver. Head to the Western Slope where the land around Grand Junction and Palisade is rich with vineyards, peaches and other crops like lavender, providing outlandish backdrops for events.
Ski towns like Steamboat Springs and Crested Butte may not be sizable in year-round population but they have the capacity to host fairly large events, or head to cities like Denver and Colorado Springs to catch a more urban pulse and some of the most spacious venues. For an easy look at the lay of the land, go to the Destination section of the website, where towns are divided into regions such as Denver area, Front Range, Mountain, South Central, Southwest and Western Slope to find the most convenient and on-target options for your attendees.
Indoors or Outdoors – Colorado is a sunny state in terms of weather and spirit. Do 300 days of sunshine annually and 60° to 70° days in the middle of winter on the Front Range (places like Longmont, Loveland, Boulder and Greeley) sound divine?
Even in the mountains, it is possible to host a daytime event outside in the winter, especially a barbecue lunch on the deck during a ski and snowboard outing or cocktails on the patio around a fire pit like those at Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Resort & Spa before moving inside. Most Colorado venues like Elk Camp at Snowmass and Estes Park Events Complex have both indoor and outdoor options so mix it up a bit. Each venue on the Destination Colorado website has a slide show of photos to catch a glimpse of indoor and outdoor options.
Beyond-the-Norm Event Venues – There is nothing standard about Colorado venues. Not only does the Colorado Convention Center in Denver have a huge blue bear sculpture peeking in the front windows, there is the Big Blue Farm on-site that provides fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs and honey for meals prepared by Centerplate. The Pueblo Convention Center borders the Historic Arkansas RiverWalk Project, and the conference centers in Keystone and Copper Mountain are just steps from the ski slopes.
The St. Regis Aspen Resort has a large interior courtyard that leads up to a beautiful pool deck, and Young Life’s Frontier Ranch near Buena Vista has a private mountain location featuring multiple buildings all with a Western mountain flair, including cabins and homes for use by groups. The Broadmoor not only has plenty of function space at its main location in Colorado Springs, the resort offers a collection of smaller Wilderness Experience properties nearby.
Extra Helping Hands – The West and especially ranches were built with all available sets of hands on deck. The staff at guest ranches such as C Lazy U Ranch and Devil’s Thumb Ranch Resort & Spa in Grand County and the event teams at any Colorado venue are ready to help ensure event success. Plus, there is a Meeting Services section of the Destination Colorado website filled with options for destination management companies, photographers, audiovisual, entertainment, activities, transportation and more.
Special Touches – Ask the locals experts about how to get the most out of your group’s Colorado event experience. Staff at destination marketing organizations like Vail Valley Partnership, Breckenridge Tourism Office, VISIT DENVER and Boulder Convention and Visitors Bureau can help match your event to the perfect venue, activities, lodging and suppliers that will provide those special local touches that impress.
There’s no reason to go it alone when plan your next event. Destination Colorado and its partners stand ready to assist and even make the request for proposal (RFP) process a snap. Happy planning!
Beth Buehler is editor of Colorado Meetings + Events and Mountain Meetings magazines, has planned numerous meetings and events and enjoys exploring Colorado.