Last-Minute Meeting Planning Resources
By Beth Buehler
Sometimes the gift of time is on your side and other times it isn’t. No place is that more evident than in the meeting and event planning business. Over the past 13 years in particular, we’ve have a couple of timeframes when short lead times have been the norm: the 2008 Great Recession and the COVID-19 pandemic. In other instances, it may be a boss or client deciding that the time is right for a team retreat, off-site board meeting, product launch or customer appreciation event. Thankfully, there are last-minute meeting planning resources that are extremely helpful in making it look like you had months to plan!
Destination Colorado – Statewide Network
Destination Colorado is a nonprofit organization designed to provide meeting and event planners with Colorado resources and information. Among its more than 130 members, you will find solutions to every requirement and planning challenge. On this website, you can easily search destinations, find ideal venues, research capacities and layouts, contact individual properties directly or send your request to multiple sources by filling out a simple RFP. Not sure what you need? Provide a few easy details and Destination Colorado is happy to assist.
Destination Marketing Organizations – Local Expertise
If you aren’t familiar with the term destination marketing organization (DMO), it’s an umbrella reference to entities like convention and visitor bureaus, tourism offices and Chambers of Commerce who are charged with promoting a specific destination, county or region. If a community is large enough, the DMO will have a dedicated sales and/or convention teams to work with groups. Regardless of size, a staff member at an DMO can help provide ideas about venues, accommodations, A/V companies, caterers, attractions, outfitters and more that can serve a group’s unique needs and do it well.
Destination Management Companies – Planning Assistance
DMOS won’t plan your meeting or event, but destination management companies (DMCs) will do so and also are experts in their designated service areas. Several Colorado DMCs serve both a city like Denver and mountain regions, in case you want to incorporate both urban and peak experiences. Like DMOs, they know the properties and various other suppliers in the place where you are planning to gather. They know how to assemble a great team and handle all the details, saving you hours of research and organization.
Venues & Suppliers – Treasure Trove of Ideas
Why reinvent the wheel? Hotels, convention centers, restaurants and other venues have seen all sorts of meeting and event setups and helped create wonderful gatherings. Don’t hesitate to ask these industry pros for ideas and check to see what they have on-site for décor items and linens. They likely have photos of great meetings to share. Caterers, A/V companies and décor firms also can help take the load off by sharing what has worked well at a particular venue. You’ll find that suppliers in a particular destination work together frequently and can help make it easier in a time crunch; the issue may be if you can get on their schedules! Many welcome the opportunity to fill holes in their calendars if you can be a bit flexible in timing.
More Thoughts & Tips
When you need to gather ideas quick, it can be helpful to browse websites and magazines dedicated to covering the meetings and events industry. They might tip you off on a hotel or inn you didn’t know about, a VIP gift idea, or an activity that is a perfect fit for your group’s demographics and interests.
Why go it alone? These last-minute meeting planning resources can make your job easier and help earn you kudos once it’s all over!
Photo: Denver Art Museum’s Hamilton Building. Courtesy Jeff Wells/VISIT DENVER.
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.