What Out-of-State Meeting Planners Want to Know about Colorado

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When planning a meeting in any state, there will be questions specific to the location. Here are a few of the most common inquiries that three destination management companies (DMCs) based in Colorado hear from clients and potential clients.

ACTIVITIES

Q: What extreme mountain activities can we offer our group?
A: For the thrill-seekers, whitewater rafting, kayaking, zip lines, rock climbing, snowmobiling and snowcat skiing are good options. And for those less adventurous, offer golf, fly fishing, hiking, a river float and snowcat tours.   —Melissa Layton; partner, Operation Altitude

ALTITUDE

Q. Is the 5,280-foot elevation of Denver real and how do you prepare clients and their attendees for altitude sickness?
A.
Yes, the Mile High air and lower levels of oxygen can affect visitors. Individuals can experience altitude sickness if they are not used to high altitudes and go too quickly from lower altitudes to Colorado, and specifically into the Rocky Mountains. It is not as prevalent in Denver as it is in the mountains, but we still have guests impacted. We share the signs and symptoms of altitude sickness with the meeting planners and also provide them with tips to share with attendees to help prevent it.  We often include a tips sheet within a welcome amenity, including bottles of water and snacks upon arrival. —Nicole Marsh, CMP, DMCP; partner, AXS Group

Q: How do we prepare our guests for altitude and what should we do if someone gets sick? 
A:
Make sure guests drink a lot of water even before they arrive in our great state! We also have some things we put in gift bags that help even if someone is already feeling bad.  Oxygen and humidifiers are also very helpful. If there is a bad case of altitude sickness, the guest should go to a lower altitude and have medical-grade oxygen. —Deana Mitchell, CMP, DMCP, CCSE; owner/operator, Realize Colorado 

MARIJUANA

Q: How has the legalization of marijuana affected the state?
A:
It has been a big moneymaker for education in Colorado and has not negatively impacted corporate group travel. Groups are completely insulated from the dispensaries. —Melissa Layton

Q. Does everyone walk around smoking pot? Or how has the legalization of marijuana affected groups?
A: No, not everyone walks around smoking pot, but it is readily available if your attendees seek it out. To date we have not had any corporate or association planners choose to integrate education or tours into their program; it’s more common for social planners.  Many of our partners, including transportation companies, mountain activity providers and hoteliers have policies in place to handle requests. Generally though, our clients have yet to feel any impact on their programs since the legalization. —Nicole Marsh

TRANSPORTATION

Q: Can we have sedans for transfers in the mountains? 
A:
We use SUVs due to snowy roads to keep your guests safe.  We can get sedans in the summer, but it is cost prohibitive to bring them in from Denver. —Deana Mitchell

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.