VISIT DENVER wanted to offer planners something different from the usual fam trip in May when it hosted MEET (Meet, Experience, Enjoy, Tell) Denver, a combination city and hotel showcase tour and comprehensive educational event. It used MEET as an opportunity to appeal to organizers for more than just larger, citywide groups. While those incoming conventions are important, VISIT DENVER also recognizes meetings of all sizes take place in the destination and have needs of their own.
“We wanted to give some special attention to smaller, single-hotel meetings that don’t utilize the Colorado Convention Center,” Rachel Benedick, vice president of sales and services at VISIT DENVER, told PCMA. “Our hotels really want and need business that eats, sleeps, and meets on their properties.”
MEET Denver was also an opportunity to reintroduce the city to planners who maybe hadn’t visited in a while. With Denver constantly changing, there are always new venues and entertainment opportunities to highlight. On the hotel showcase tour, event organizers got to explore five boutique properties, immersing them in Denver’s art and history scene. They also visited four luxury properties in the upscale Cherry Creek neighborhood — which offers 16 walkable blocks of spas, art galleries, cafes, and retailers — and four hotel properties in the downtown core, shining a spotlight on meeting space, guest rooms, and public space.
In addition, planners toured The Mile High City via bus, visiting neighborhoods like artsy River North (RiNo). It was there that the MEET Denver attendees networked and noshed in the tasting room of Bigsby’s Folly Winery & Restaurant, a roaring ’20s-inspired craft winery. “RiNo Art District has always been a neighborhood of artists,” Benedick said. She explained that many murals throughout the neighborhood were created through CRUSH WALLS, an annual street-art festival, and celebrate local artists. “The abundant street art beautifies the neighborhood and encourages creativity, enriches the community, and brings the art out of the galleries and into the streets.”
Venue tours as a part of MEET Denver included the Broncos Stadium at Mile High; the Denver Performing Arts Complex, one of the largest performing arts centers in the U.S.; the historic McNichols Civic Center Building; and Ironworks, another historic venue in the heart of Denver. “This event allowed us to demonstrate the unique Denver character of our venues,” Benedick said. It also helped showcase unique sides of well-known venues in the destination. “Everyone knows Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre is in Denver, but MEET Denver attendees went on a special ‘Stroll & Sketch,’ where they could embrace their creative side with an artist-guided painting class while enjoying the park’s beautiful scenery.”
Denver is also well-known for its craft brewery scene, so MEET Denver clients got the opportunity to go on a curated “Kegs and Eggs” breakfast and beer sampling tour. Planners ended their trip with lunch at The Bindery, demonstrating the city’s growing foodie reputation, and a Crafted Colorado closing event on Larimer Square, the city’s oldest and most historic block. Afterward, attendees were invited to stay and cap their visit at a Colorado Rockies game, a performance of Wicked at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, or an Eric Church concert at the Pepsi Center.