Keeping up with the ebb and flow of trends and best practices for meetings and events during the past few years has been like running a Colorado trail race without a map or directional signage. Where do you turn left, turn right, go straight, or temporarily stop at an aid station to take a breath and renourish?
Just like running a race, the key is getting a feel for the route and adjusting along the way. Garden of the Gods Resort and Club in Colorado Springs has done just that, and Vice President of Sales Michael Garrow shares several trends and ways the property has fine-tuned in response to groups’ needs.
Short-Term Bookings: With the desire to return to in-person meetings and events, groups are making sure attendees are healthy prior to making a commitment to booking meetings and events, often two months or less in advance. Having a wide array of venue spaces and flexible indoor and outdoor meeting space is helpful with this scenario.
Flexible Cancellation: Flexible booking policies are a top priority for most meeting planners. Having the option to cancel and knowing that their investment is protected is critical for planners.
Emphasis on Wellness & Outdoor Activities: Groups and meeting planners are increasingly focused on wellness and outdoor activities. Strata Spa, Fit and Med features massage and body treatments, executive wellness programs, customized group fitness classes, and mindfulness offerings. Garden of the Gods Resort and Club has on-site tennis and 27 holes of championship golf and recently introduced a resort outfitters program that includes guided hikes of Garden of the Gods Park and bike tours through Red Rock Canyon, North Cheyenne Canon, or Ute Valley Park. The resort also places an emphasis on using fresh, local ingredients, offering nutritious meal options and integrating healthy adaptations ranging from cocktails to wellness-inspired elixirs.
Increased Business & Wedding Bookings: The good news is that the resort is experiencing business levels that are higher than pre-pandemic levels and seeing event planner budgets increasing. Wedding spend alone is up 25% compared to the previous year.
“We are seeing that there is increased value in meeting in person, and I think people are eager to get back to normalcy and gathering in person,” says Garrow. “Having the policies in place that give greater peace of mind, like the flexibility to book short-term and cancel when needed due to health concerns, allows for this return to normalcy to progress.”