Colorado has given away more than $1.3 million in rebates to meeting and convention groups since last year, and it’s not done yet. The incentive program, introduced to help encourage face-to-face groups to meet in the state and speed the economic recovery from Covid-19, has been extended.
The program gives approved events a 10-percent rebate on eligible hard costs, up to $100,000. When first rolled out, the event had to take place in Colorado before the end of 2022. Now, the deadline is June 2024.
“We’ve extended it 18 months, which opens up the door for groups looking at 2023 and 2024,” says Kelly Layton, executive director at Destination Colorado, which partnered with the Colorado Tourism Office to launch the program
Layton notes that the Meeting & Event Incentive Cash Rebate Program is unusual in that it’s not affiliated with a specific lodging chain or city, but rather applies statewide.
So far, 173 groups have submitted applications for the cash rebate. Eighty-five applications have been approved and 25 are under review. Those not approved are typically those that don’t meet the financial criteria. That is, total eligible hard costs must be at least $35,000. Those eligible costs do not include lodging or alcohol, so once those costs are backed out, weddings often don’t qualify, notes Layton.
Eligible costs do include food & beverage (other than alcohol); venue rentals, and any security that would go along with it; tents, linens, and other event rentals; some event tech, including the conference app; and entertainment
Other requirements for the rebate:
• The application must be approved at least 45 days before the event begins.
• The event must be new to the state or be “a previously booked or recurring meeting or event taking place in Colorado that is at risk of being canceled, postponed, or relocated outside of Colorado without support.”
• The event must generate at least 25 lodging room nights.