The inaugural hot springs connection, a conference designed to build relationships, share ideas and promote thermal mineral water attractions in the U.S., was held in Glenwood Springs last November. The meeting resulted in steps to form a national geothermal trade association and develop a website representing hot springs resorts. The 2019 conference will be Nov. 4-8 in Palm Springs and Desert Springs, California.

It made sense to host the first three-day conference in Glenwood Springs, which has three hot springs amenities of its own. The inaugural event welcomed 95 attendees from 14 states and three different continents (North America, Europe and Australia). In total, 36 hot springs facilities were represented along with vendors, suppliers and consultants.

“Getting the nation’s geothermal stakeholders in the same room and talking with one another proved to be an invaluable experience for everyone involved,” says organizer Vicky Nash, CEO and owner of Resort Trends, Inc. hotspringsconnection.com

HIGHLIGHTS:

» On opening day, attendees received a rare, up-close look at the Glenwood Hot Springs Pool in an unusual state: drained and empty of more than 1 million gallons of water. Conference guests learned about the pool’s intensive cleaning and maintenance processes.

» At a mixer prior to dinner at historic Hotel Colorado, guests were invited to participate in a water tasting before returning to the hotel. Water sommelier Janet Abbott, of the Balneology Association of North America, guided tasters through a flight of waters sourced from the drinking springs in Manitou Springs and one local spring.

» Tours of the Spa of the Rockies, an awardwinning spa that incorporates geothermal water into many of its treatments and spa rituals. 

» Speakers on topics such as hydrothermal spa and wellness standards, the challenges of building a new hot spring and remodeling older facilities, balneology and geothermal bathing practices, elevating guest experiences through new technologies, hot springs architectural and landscape design, water quality and sanitation practices, water rights and permitting issues, and the success of the Colorado Historic Hot Springs Loop

Meeting and incentive trip planners: Get ready to be surprised at the diverse range of lodging options available in Colorado from glamping tents, yurts and teepees to overnight accommodations in a jail, train station, castle and replica fort. colorado.com

The 200-acre, family-owned Arapaho Valley Ranch has cabins, lodge rooms, glamping tents outfitted with southwestern flair, and 20-foot teepees equipped with queensized beds.

 

When planning a gathering, make sure to check a destination’s calendar of events for festivals, concerts and noteworthy exhibitions. Leslie Heins and Lisa Cook, owners and event architects of Denver-based Affair with Flair, demonstrated how this can be done with a social occasion, which easily could have been a corporate event in conjunction with the Denver Art Museum’s recent blockbuster “Dior: From Paris to the World” that wrapped up in March 2019.

 

The commoditization of the live events industry causes concern and prompts discussion.