By Beth Buehler
By now, we’ve seen the emails from all sorts of entities ranging from airlines to kids’ schools, Facebook posts and news stories about coronavirus (COVID-19), and it has people and groups wondering what the future holds. How long will this go on? The two things that always keep me optimistic (including when the recession unfolded in 2008/2009) are that Americans rise to the challenge and love to connect … in person.
In Colorado, we have some of the best professionals in the industry who are working nonstop to help meeting and event planners reschedule gatherings by looking at date flexibility and summer and fall opportunities. These are two of the most beautiful seasons in the Centennial State, which is known for 300 days of glorious sunshine and a temperate climate.
When the industry showed up in force at the Meetings Industry Council of Colorado Educational Conference and Trade Show in early March, I looked around and was struck by an incredible group of nearly 1,000 planners and suppliers (many who are friends and colleagues) determined to face this blip on the map head on in our state and beyond. They are partnering and coming up with creative solutions, traits that Colorado exudes. This is the West after all, it’s friendly and authentic and there’s a pioneering spirit ingrained in pretty much everything.
Many of these familiar faces are part of Destination Colorado, which stands ready to assist as this shaking up of everything we know settles down and becomes clear again, much like a snow globe where everything gracefully comes to rest. As a society, we’ll need to get back on our feet as soon as possible so business, learning, new product launches, strategic retreats, team-building and important social occasions are back on the calendar.
How can Destination Colorado help? This nonprofit organization is designed to provide resources and information for meeting and event planners, and there is no more important time for this function than now. Among the more than 130 members from across the state (destinations, hotels, convention centers, destination management companies, transportation providers, outfitters and more), planners will find solutions to every requirement and planning challenge.
“Our mission, since Destination Colorado’s creation in 1993, is to make the site selection and planning experience convenient and straightforward. Instead of needing to reach out to a large number of venues, destinations and suppliers individually, we help with a convenient one-stop RFP process. Members work in tandem and have the ultimate goal of sharing the best of Colorado with groups,” says Destination Colorado President Ellen Collins.
“The fantastic variety and choices guarantee a fresh experience every time, and our members are actively assisting meeting and event planners and anyone scrambling to rebook and to find new locations as needed,” she adds.
Are you ready to get back to the business of meetings and events and a sense of normalcy? I think we all are, and it will happen! Destination Colorado is an ideal resource and collaboration vehicle to help smooth the way.
Beth Buehler has been editor of Colorado Meetings + Events magazine for 15 years and helped launch Mountain Meetings magazine in 2013. She has planned numerous meetings and events and enjoys exploring Colorado.