By Deb Brannon
Planning a destination meeting can sometimes be overwhelming, especially when trying to anticipate what you will need on-site to make the meeting or event a success. I just went through this process with planning the 2015 Colorado Governor’s Tourism Conference in Crested Butte held in mid-September. During my pre-planning process, I thought of three different approaches to help make the conference seamless and my life easier on-site: assemble a trip kit of supplies that included items that might not be accessible in a more remote location without a Kinko’s or Office Max, provide amenities for attendees and ensure participants are prepared by providing suggestions for attire.
Trip Kit Supplies: I always have a box of goodies that resembles my home office and includes stapler/staples, scissors, sticky notes, highlighters, pens, paper clips, box opener, and so forth. I also like to include items that I might not find in a more remote location, such as Velcro for signage, packing tape for the end of the meeting to close boxes, extra extension cords, extra votive candles for dinners and receptions, extra lanyards, and name badge stock.
Amenities: It is important to ensure participants are prepared for the meeting by thinking of their needs ahead of time. When planning a meeting at a higher altitude, it is crucial to stress the importance of keeping hydrated. I always have water stations in every meeting room, outside of general sessions, at all meal functions and bottles of water available during transfers. This is to encourage attendees to stay hydrated, especially in Colorado. Another tip is to offer attendees powdered Acli-Mate packets to add to their water and assist with adjusting to altitude. During the Governor’s Conference, we added Acli-Mate to welcome bags and had extra packets available at the hospitality desk. It’s also fun to include or give away local items such as a mini, taster-sized bottle of Montanya Distillers rum and Camp 4 Coffee from Crested Butte businesses or perhaps something to go with the theme of the conference, as well as brochures with local activity information.
Attire: When sending email or snail mail confirmations to participants, I always include a blurb about attire, what they should wear during the conference, dinners, etc., but in Colorado it is especially important to explain the importance of layers. Colorado weather is constantly changing, so it is important to always have a sweater and/or jacket with you. I also recommend bringing a rain jacket for excursions, due to afternoon showers in the mountains.
Planning a meeting or event in a Colorado mountain town is truly a treat for meeting planners and attendees alike; there is nothing like having a welcome reception at 10,000+ feet, seeing aspens turn golden yellow and experiencing firsthand the wonderful Colorado hospitality. By taking a few steps ahead of time to anticipate your on-site needs, you will be in great shape for a fantastic Colorado gathering!
Deb Brannon has been in the tourism, meeting and event planning industry for more than 15 years. She was formerly an Account Director for Miles on the Colorado Tourism Office account, helping to oversee Colorado.com and the Colorado Official State Vacation Guide. She is now the owner of Altitude Events and is the meeting and event planner for the Colorado Tourism Office.