Downtown Denver Continues to Grow as a Meetings Market

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Take a look at a photo of Denver's skyline in 2007. Then, take a look at a photo of that same skyline in 2017. You’ll quickly notice that the Mile High City is undergoing a period of unprecedented growth with a booming economy, an array of ambitious construction projects, and an influx of leisure and business visitors, all looking to experience Denver. 

Denver has witnessed a 62 percent increase in tourism since 2005 and 17.3 million overnight visitors spent $5.3 billion in 2016 alone, according to VISIT DENVER, The Convention & Visitors Bureau based on results from the Longwoods International annual visitor profile study. Forbes ranked Denver as the sixth fastest growing city in the United States for 2015. 

The meetings and events market has seen similar growth, with signature gatherings such as the Great American Beer Festival and the Outdoor Retailer + Snow Show bringing in thousands of attendees. Meetings and events as a whole brought close to $750 million to the city in 2016 based on statistics tracked by VISIT DENVER. 

Nowhere is this boom more apparent than Denver’s vibrant downtown, boasting 10,000 hotel rooms (by the end of 2017); a state-of-the-art convention center; a central location; easy access to an international airport via the A Line train from Union Station; and a walkable district packed with an endless array of shopping, dining, nightlife and cultural attractions. 

With so much growth and no signs of slowing down, it’s easy to see why the Mile High City was the location of choice for the Le Méridien Denver Downtown and AC Hotel Denver Downtown— the first Marriott/Starwood co-branded property to open post-merger. The new hotels, opened on Sept. 14, 2017, added 495 rooms to the heart of the city at the intersection of 15th and California, just one block from the Colorado Convention Center, steps away from Denver’s famed 16th Street pedestrian promenade, and near the Colorado State Capitol. Also close by are leading attractions including LoDo (the Lower Downtown historic district that includes the beautifully restored Union Station), Denver Center for the Performing Arts, and sports venues such as Pepsi Center, Coors Field and Sports Authority Field at Mile High, home of the NFL’s Denver Broncos. 

Groups can enjoy unique moments of discovery and take advantage of all that is happening in the city through Le Méridien Denver Downtown’s “Unlock Denver” program. By showing their room key card, guests have access to perks from a number of carefully curated community partners including Clyfford Still Museum, Laws Whiskey House, Infinite Monkey Theorem Urban Winery, Renegade Brewing Company, Colorado Cider Company and more.

FUN FACTS

LE MÉRIDIEN DENVER DOWNTOWN
» 272 guest rooms and more than 12,000 square feet of high-tech banquet and meeting space, including a 5,700-square-foot ballroom.
» Corinne offers a buzz-worthy dining and cocktail experience of simple, American comfort food with an emphasis on locally sourced ingredients.
» 54thirty Rooftop, the highest open-air rooftop bar in the city located on the 20th floor, is a venue for groups and individuals to socialize, sip and stargaze. 

AC HOTEL DENVER DOWNTOWN
» 223 guest rooms
» On-site dining, bars and restaurants
» 24-hour rooftop fitness center

Paul Eckert is the dual general manager of the new Le Meridien Denver Downtown and AC Hotel Denver Downtown. 

How much is too much? At many meetings and events, frazzled and fractured attention spans are put in hyperdrive with a wall-to-wall, dawnto-dusk agenda.

“Things are so rushed in today’s world,” says Angela Coleman, manager of events and meetings for KPMG, LLC in Denver. “Everybody’s got to do five things at once. We’re learning quickly that it doesn’t always benefit our attendees or conferencegoers.”

 

Denver’s McNichols Civic Center Building was decked out Willy Wonka style on June 20, 2017, for the ninth annual International Live Events Association (ILEA) Denver Excellence Awards. Members and guests celebrated the accomplishments of their peers and enjoyed cocktails, dinner and dancing. A team of judges from the Chicago chapter of ILEA selected the winners.

 

For the past five years, Destination Colorado has been switching up its Customer Appreciation Event from golf to experiential. This year, partner suppliers helped host planners for a private dinner reception at Red Rocks Amphitheatre followed by a 1964 Beatles tribute band performance. Nostalgic costume items, a photo booth and a roped-off seating section at Red Rocks were part of the fun.