When you picture the mountains, do you see snowy peaks or imagine warm breezes?
If you’re like many meeting planners, you associate mountain destinations with cold weather. That’s why the Mountain Meeting Alliance, a consortium of Colorado-based resorts and communities, brings meeting and event planners in for summer familiarization tours.
Last year’s inaugural MMA FAM welcomed five planners. This year, 18 meeting organizers visited the Copper Mountain Resort in Copper and Breckenridge’s Beaver Run Resort in early August to learn about the meeting amenities available there and with other MMA partners, the Steamboat Grand and the Telluride Resort.
In Copper, planners rode a chairlift to the Copper Nature Center to see a birds-of-prey presentation and learned how to “Magnify Your Purpose.” In Breckenridge, they broke into teams to build bicycles for “Wish for Wheels,” a nonprofit that delivers bikes to underprivileged kids. In between, they toured Beaver Run and Copper Mountain resorts, their conference centers and surrounding communities. The schedule also left free time for attendees to experience the beauty of the mountains at their own pace.
“I appreciate the planners who took time from their busy schedules to experience life in the Colorado mountains,” said Allison Grassetti, CMP, Telluride Conference Collective’s director of conference and incentives. “The goal of the Mountain Meeting Alliance is not only to showcase our destinations, but also to educate people on the important role nature plays in rejuvenating the human spirit.”
Scott Shellman of Framework Meetings and Destinations says he attended mainly for the site inspections but also gained an understanding of which of his clients’ programs would be a good fit for MMA properties. “I think the MMA is a nice collection of venues in a beautiful part of the world,” he said. “I have confidence that each member property would do a good job hosting meetings/events, so I’d be comfortable recommending them.”
“I like the closeness of the community,” said Tamaria Lambert, an executive assistant with Southern Co. “The mountains have a lot to offer, from small executive board meetings to large employee meetings. There are team-building activities; golf and skiing is an added incentive. I need to get out more in an effort to compare properties and get to know vendors in order for my meetings to be successful. Mountain Meeting Alliance [members] go the extra mile to ensure their clients’ needs are met. No matter how small or large [the meeting], if I think it, they can bring it to life.”
Meeting Unlimited’s Christianne Heba appreciated seeing the mountains in summer. Previously, she said, clients had trouble understanding the variety of activities available once the snow melts. The FAM trip will help her make the case for summertime meetings. Plus, she said, “It’s a great way to network with key suppliers and to obtain the best pricing for my clients.”
Carol Schmidt, Copper Mountain Resort’s director of conference, said, “The Mountain Meeting Alliance-hosted event is the best possible way for organizers who have been curious about planning a mountain meeting to experience firsthand how simple, fun and inspiring it can be when you’re surrounded by the pure authentic elements of nature.”
Qualified meeting and event planners interested in attending the 2016 MMA FAM can apply here.