Incentive Program Aims To Encourage Event Planners To Host Events In Colorado
Colorado is hoping that a new incentive program will encourage meeting and event planners to host their events in Colorado in the coming year.
The new program will offer 10% cash back rebates, ranging from $ 3,500 to $ 10,000, to cover eligible costs of events and meetings held in Colorado between July 1, 2021 and December 31, 2022. The initiative is aimed at to push planners to book in Colorado as opposed to competing states; and to keep meetings in the state when there is a likelihood that they will be canceled or moved.
Colorado Bureau of Economic Development and International Trade spokesperson Jill McGranahan said the program was one of many programs that emerged from the state’s last legislative session aimed at boosting the economy.
âThe meetings and events industry has been wiped out by COVID-19,â McGranahan said. “It’s just a way for us to help push to bring this industry back.”
According to the state’s website, Colorado’s visitor volume declined 47.4% in March 2020, 73.8% in April 2020 and 40.4% in May 2020. McGranahan said the The meeting and convention industry is still about a quarter of what it was in 2019.
McGranahan said the Colorado Office of Tourism has worked with local tourist boards, destination marketing organizations and industry companies to determine the qualification and eligibility criteria for the program.
To be eligible for funding, events must generate at least 25 paid rooms, have fixed costs of at least $ 35,000 and be a new event contracted on or after April 6, 2020. Events in danger of cancellation, postponement or relocation out of state are also eligible.
Eligible fixed costs include food and beverages, rental of event space, and entertainment. Alcoholic beverages, hotel room charges, design work, and tips are not eligible costs for grants.
The $ 10 billion funding has been split so that a certain percentage goes to every county in the state. Allocations were made based on revenue from accommodation sales in 2019, and Summit County was allocated 11.43% of the funds, the second highest allocation for a single county.
âWe work with startups, with small businesses, with industries such as tourism and hospitality and we make sure that these programs that we support with stimulus money go directly to the economic recovery and help small businesses to get back on their feet, âMcGranahan said. .
Bruce Horii, director of sales and marketing at Beaver Run Resorts in Breckenridge, said many large groups pass through Beaver Run for meetings and events because it is home to a large conference center.
Organizations hosting events must request refunds themselves, so Horii said Beaver Run has gone to great lengths to ensure that those who qualify and have booked with the resort have access to program information.
âWe want this money to be used for the benefit of our region. Horii said. ââ¦ So (we) make sure that they are aware of the opportunities they have to receive these incentive grants. “
While Horii said this program would be great in helping bring events back to tourist towns like Breckenridge, the bigger issue facing the industry is staffing.
âNone of us are able to recruit properly or have the same resources we had before the pandemic. Horii said. â… I don’t think the employee base is the same as before. “
He said Beaver Run has been able to host successful conferences again starting in June and also expects a strong fall season. Horii said he predicts the industry is still about a year away from pre-pandemic normalcy, but it is getting closer every day.
For more information on the program and how to apply for funding, visit the Office of Economic Development and International Trade website. website.