Breckenridge’s Beaver Run takes top honors for government meetings |

Breckenridge’s Beaver Run takes top honors for government meetings

A Breckenridge resort and its associate director of sales both recently received top awards from the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the Society of Government Meeting Professionals, or SGMP.

Beaver Run Resort and Conference Center was named “Company of the Year.”

“Beaver Run’s longtime commitment and service to the industry and support of the organization not only for 2013 but since the inception many years was cited,” said Bruce Horii, director of sales and marketing at Beaver Run.

The society awarded the “President’s Award” to Kim Hawks, Beaver Run’s associate director of sales. The award goes to the organization’s member of the year.

“It was kind of a funny story,” Horii said of Hawks winning the award. “She thought she might win one, a sales award, and she didn’t, but then she ended up winning the most prestigious award of the night.

“The award recognizes Kim’s contributions and commitment over the past year as well as her dedication to the organization over the course of her career … Both awards reflect Beaver Run’s ongoing involvement in the meetings market as well as our ongoing commitment to excellence in this highly competitive area of the hospitality industry.”

SGMP was founded in 1981 and remains the only national organization dedicated to improving the quality and cost-effectiveness of government meetings. The organization has more than 30 chapters and 3,000 members.

Meeting industry fights back

Beaver Run Resort winning a couple of top awards was a bright spot in what has been a struggling industry.

Deadlock over spending bills, sequestration cuts and the temporary shutdown of the federal government are some of the issues over the past two years that have contributed to the shrinking of the government meetings industry. The SGMP has seen chapters close, and the society’s own budget has shrunk by more than 20 percent in the past year. But SGMP national president Rob Coffman said at a “state of the industry address” earlier this summer that while challenges remain, the industry is fighting back by becoming more vocal and proactive.

“We are now actively reinforcing the value of government meetings and their important role in delivering taxpayer value,” Coffman said. “We have already earned numerous positive placements in industry publications. We are also building bridges and developing partnerships with key industry peer organizations to actively participate in the larger industry.”

Coffman added that the group is doing more to lobby members of Congress to make its case for government meetings.

As Congress remains polarized on a plethora of issues, it will interesting to see whether government meeting budgets grow at all in the coming years, but local resorts stand to benefit if they do. It could only add to what looks like a record-setting tourist trend in the High Rockies.

Co-working spaces flourishing, capturing niche markets

Last week, we profiled a new co-working space slated to open this fall in Frisco. Co-working spaces have flourished in the Denver metro area since the first one opened in 2011 — so much so they are becoming specialized. A story appeared in the Tuesday, July 29, issue of the Denver Post, reporting at least four new co-working spaces scheduled to open in the Mile High City this year. But because co-working spaces are more competitive there, several are marketing themselves as industry specific, instead of broadly allowing all types of workers inside. For example, LawBank is catering to lawyers only. Green Labs, which opened in May, focuses solely on marijuana start-ups. And Green Spaces only allows clients of green-certified companies. Fortunately, the new co-working space in Frisco will cater to all types of business professionals and entrepreneurs.

Speaking of pot start-ups …

This week the New York Times released a series of editorials claiming its “High Time” the rest of the nation follow Colorado’s and Washington state’s lead in legalizing recreational marijuana. The paper called for the federal government to end its ban on marijuana. What has been called an “experiment” in the Centennial State might soon become the next big industry in America. If that happens, Colorado will have an advantage. The state already boasts more entrepreneurs and officials with recreational pot industry experience than can be found anywhere in the country.

Tourism titan

And while Colorado and its relationship with marijuana are attracting the attention of the nation, visitors are flocking here for myriad reasons. While local lodging experts are keeping their fingers crossed and their mouths tight so as not to jinx 2014 from becoming a record-setting year for tourism in the High Rockies, the results are in for 2013. This week, the Colorado Tourism Office announced that a record-setting 64.6 million people visited Colorado in 2013. That number includes business travelers as well as tourists.

The visitors spent approximately $17.3 billion, another record. The appeal of Colorado as “Vacationland” continues to flourish.

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