Collaborations, gatherings, and events will look a little different in the coming months. However, Hello! Colorado is pushing creative boundaries to elevate virtual events alongside engaging with new businesses, vendors, and partners. From online happy hours, live streams, and industry education, Hello! Colorado is adapting the way they do business.
We chatted with Kerry Sauber, Senior Account Executive, with Hello! Colorado to discuss their creative avenues during COVID-19.
A: The current conditions have greatly impacted our business with traveling and in-person events taking the hardest economic hit. We are typically busiest January through May, but this year our “season” is drastically different. As a Destination Management Company, one of our primary goals is to become destination experts and sharing that expertise with our clients so that they can experience the absolute best options each of our destinations has to offer. This knowledge comes in a variety of ways, such as staying on top of new and emerging destination-specific tours, venues, design concepts, and activities. In the absence of in-person meetings, we’ve had the opportunity to get creative with how we can provide value to our clients and showcase each of our destinations and local partners virtually. We’ve also been using this time to prepare for the future. Throughout our 11 offices across the country, our company focus has shifted from serving clients to focusing on improving our skills and our business resources.
A: Interacting and staying connected with the local community, our partners, and clients is a main focus for our teams. We’re working on is our bi-weekly Facebook Live Event Sessions called “We’re In so, You’re In.” Twice a month, we partner with one of our local suppliers from a different destination to produce a virtual experience. We showcase their expertise and collaborate on creating an interactive virtual group setting, organizing the event storyline, and handling the sessions. Through these “We’re In so, You’re In” Sessions, we’ve been able to encourage client engagement that we can also recreate and reimagine to enhance their virtual meetings.
The beauty of the virtual events is that they can be replicated anywhere, even though they are based on connections that we have in our other local destinations. Some of the events that we’ve hosted are a Live Singer/Songwriter experience out of Nashville, a DIY At-Home Spa Tutorial out of Dallas, and a Cooking Demo out of Orlando. In the next few months, we will be hosting a variety of options such as Line Dancing, Dueling Pianos, and Mixology on the following dates: May 28th, June 11th, and June 25th.
A: Since Colorado is the ultimate outdoor destination, we plan on featuring some of our most popular outdoor experiences in our “We’re in, so You’re in” live series in the next few months. While we don’t know when these activities will open up for in-person experiences, we’d love to offer virtual white water rafting or zip lining as an exciting break from being in front of our computer screens daily. This is a great way to engage our clients and remain connected virtually.
Another avenue that we’ve taken to peak interest in our industry is a social media education campaign called the “ABC’s of DMC’s.” Clients often engage us for a specific service, like staff or transportation, and don’t know the full scope of how we can support them. Through this campaign, our goal is to educate our customers on the depth of services that we offer, and how we can take the lead of many of their local planning aspects, with also providing a fun twist to the highlighted industry-specific definitions.
For our clients and partners, we have also been showcasing a daily list of industry-related webinars so that they can continue weekly event education. This includes industry-specific webinars, current events, and learning-related webinars for anyone looking to stay connected in the absence of person-to-person conversation.
A: Stay connected! In the events and meetings industry, we are used to constant in-person interaction. With most people currently working from home, it is easy to feel isolated at times. Our company utilizes Microsoft Teams for meetings, chats, and calls and it has been a great way to stay connected. We can easily chat, brainstorm, share screens, and stay connected across the country with all of our offices.
A: Our “normal” lives from a few months ago were typically so busy with our teams running between site visits, supplier meetings, client events, hotel walkthroughs, and industry events. That hectic life didn’t leave much downtime for us to get together. However, we are now more virtually connected than ever! Between department meetings across offices and bi-weekly creative training sessions, we feel our teams are becoming more knowledgeable about a variety of facets of the industry. Also, it’s been a nice change of pace to connect on a more personal level by having virtual happy hours across our offices. Growing this personal connection among our employees has created a more unified, stronger team that allows us to serve our clients better.
A: The Hello! Colorado team has a daily 8:30 AM video call where we catch up on how the previous day, anything funny or interesting that happened at home, swap workouts, and recipes. It usually lasts about 30 minutes, but it’s a great way to start the day before jumping right into work mode. On Fridays, we swap our 8:30 AM call for an afternoon happy hour call, where sometimes family and pets join in, and we play interactive games. A few weeks ago, we ranked fast food, bracket-style and it was a great, lighthearted way to wrap up the week! Chipotle won – hands down.
Hello! Colorado offers a variety of services designed to support meeting planners’ host their best possible event or meeting in Aurora, Colorado. From transportation management, off-site events, tours, dine-arounds, virtual gatherings, and more, explore their website for more information.