In a follow-up email for the 17th annual Meetings Industry Council of Colorado Educational Conference & Trade Show held March 14 and 15 at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver, organizers attributed the record sellout attendance of 1,200 to “a perfect storm of collaboration.” I like that description and find that it also perfectly describes the 11th annual Colorado Meetings + Events magazine’s Best of Colorado readers’ choice awards held on March 13 at the new Hangar at Stanley in Aurora, which sold out for the second year in a row and attracted more than 500 attendees.
Together, the awards celebration and conference have become Colorado’s own unique and successful version of Meetings Week. Here are a few highlights and thoughts about why it has worked so well over the past decade.
1. Introduce New or Unique Venues – Best of Colorado has benefited from this approach, especially the past two being at the Hangar at Stanley and UCHealth Training Center (home of the Denver Broncos). On the flip side, the MIC Conference is always at the Colorado Convention Center, which is the right venue and makes hosting the growing number of attendees and exhibitors possible. MIC has done a good job of changing up use of the space and format of the conference, including adding a second day for all attendees this year.
2. Work with Great Sponsors and Partners – There are too many to name for both gatherings, but big events and conferences don’t happen without talented partners bringing in their ideas, talent, unique offerings and resources. A big thank you to our Best of Colorado sponsors and partners for what resulted in an amazing evening and lots of positive comments.
3. Keep People Entertained & Feeling Value for Attending – Colorado is blessed with many great entertainers, speakers, emcees and more, many of whom are willing to travel to participate. This is always obvious at both events. The past two years, I have been fortunate to share the stage with two terrific emcees, Mary Louis Lee, first lady of Denver and a talented singer, and Amelia Earhart from Denver’s 9News. Humorist Tim Gard, CSP, CPAE Hall of Fame inductee who lived in Colorado for several years, was a keynote speaker and the emcee for MIC. I enjoyed hearing all the speakers and moderating the magazine’s breakout session “In the Hot Seat: Satisfying the C-Suite & Meeting Attendees” featuring Deb Brannon, owner of Altitude Events; Jeff Gaillard, chief marketing officer for ViaWest, Inc.; and Claire Repass, CMP, director of events for Inspirato and founder of Rexmark Consulting.
4. Make it Easy to Network – For Best of Colorado, we provide more than an hour before the awards presentation for attendees to explore the venue, enjoy the food and beverage, take part in extras like the Boulder Convention and Visitor Bureau’s fun retro VW van that served as a photo booth, and, most importantly, network. MIC does the same through breaks and opening and closing receptions.
5. Celebrate Your Industry – Don’t forget to commemorate the businesses, organizations and people who are making a difference in your industry. After 10 years, we now have 70 talented individuals in the magazine’s Hall of Fame, people who continue to give back in numerous ways to the industry and the many businesses, organizations and attractions that have been named Best of Colorado winners by our readers. Steve Kinsley, president of Kinsley, was presented with this year’s MIC Leadership Award and Jenn Kimbel, CMP, events manager XP and engagement for Sage, and Lora Knowlton, owner of Current Events LLC received Co-Chair Awards.
There are many more things that could be highlighted, but you get the picture. Mark your calendars now for 2018 Colorado Meetings Week with Best of Colorado on March 12 and the MIC Conference on March 13 and 14. Watch for details in upcoming months, register early and keep on collaborating!