By Beth Buehler
Want to catch someone’s attention with a meeting itinerary? Good chance you will if there is a chance to experience the destination or engage in unique activities built into the agenda. Here are a few ideas to get the wheels turning for a Colorado meeting that attendees will remember.
- Tickle the Taste Buds – Colorado is a hot spot for microbreweries and incredible restaurants with world-class chefs, including several who are growing gardens and raising herds. Plan a reception or tour that incorporates tastings with local farmers, cheese makers, brewers and distillers on hand. Examples of really fun ways to visit breweries are Banjo Billy’s Bus Tours in Boulder and Denver and Beer and Bike Tours with a brews cruise in Fort Collins and a Fort Collins to Boulder day tour. There also are culinary walking tours in communities like Denver, Boulder and Telluride.
- Get Outside – Colorado is known for its outdoorsy culture and scenic beauty. A variety of levels of activities can be offered so no one will be left out. Schedule easygoing and informational hikes with naturalists in Rocky Mountain National Park and Aspen/Snowmass or hire an outfitter to take a group between the two mountain towns of Aspen and Crested Butte, meeting one day in each of these iconic mountain towns on either side of the trek. Offer a day of downhill skiing and snowboarding, which is available right outside the door of many mountain properties, and provide a snowcat tour or snowshoeing excursion option for those who don’t ski or ride.
- Tap Into Concerts & Festivals – Why create more work for yourself when many times there is a festival or concert that can be tapped into for outside-the-meeting-room entertainment? Durango’s Music in the Mountains, Glenwood Springs’ Grand River Classic Car and Motorcycle Days, Golden’s First Fridays, Vail’s Snow Daze and Breckenridge’s Ullr Fest all offer fun opportunities.
- Capture the Culture – Many local museums, botanical centers and art centers/museums offer classes and tours and can be great locations for off-site receptions and dinners where almost no décor is needed. Plus attendees can wander around at their leisure to see an incredible array of butterflies at the Butterfly Pavilion in Westminster (groups also can build in a release of butterflies into an event), amazing gardens at Denver Botanic Gardens, the interesting collection at the Money Museum in Colorado Springs, and unique architecture and exhibitions as the Aspen Art Museum’s new facility.
Scheduling activities not only can help increase attendance, it can create great networking opportunities and keep the day moving, focused and energetic. Talk to local destination marketing organization in the town where you are meeting for fresh and creative ideas.