• Conference Rooms With a View: Motor Coaches

     
    POSTED February 17, 2020
     

How did three smaller Colorado towns— La Junta, Trinidad and Walsenburg— host a conference like the 2019 Southern Colorado Tourism Summit? The solution was taking attendees on the road and using transfer times as conference sessions.

Summit Snapshot 

The gathering kicked off with an evening reception at Koshare Museum in La Junta on April 3. It was all aboard the following morning at 7:45 a.m., and the 1.5-hour ride to Walsenburg gave passengers the chance to see the beauty of the low mesas and gulches in southeast Colorado and learn more about the geography, wildlife and history through speaker Tony Gurzick from Colorado Parks & Wildlife.

After two sessions and lunch in Walsenburg, the hour trip to Trinidad involved passing near the site of the Ludlow Massacre, a conflict resulting from a labor strike by coal miners. Carolyn Newman, a retired school teacher and past president of Huerfano County Historical Society, presented a dramatic interpretation of the famous Mother Jones and brought the tragedy to life.

In Trinidad, the A.R. Mitchell Museum of Art was utilized as a venue for a break, session and Taste of Trinidad, and attendees had the opportunity to explore downtown and hop aboard a trolley to see three local attractions.

On the nearly two-hour ride back to La Junta that evening, attendees were treated to “Saga of the Santa Fe Trail” by Rick Wallner, the retired chief of interpretation and visitor center services at Bent’s Old Fort. The summit wrapped up the following morning at Otero Junior College in La Junta.

Insights

“Our conference room with a view concept was a big success. It was amazing to me how quiet the inside of the motor coach was and even though there was Wi-Fi on the bus, no one was on their phone as we traveled between venues,” confirms Debra Malone, member of the summit planning committee. “There were small video screens for the viewing of videos and PowerPoints that were used for some of the on-bus presentations, and we brought on our own portable, cordless microphone.” socotourismsummit.com

 

Event planners often prepare for the worst, but one thing they likely didn’t anticipate was a global pandemic when selecting event cancellation insurance policies for their 2020 gatherings. Panicked planners began contacting Marcia McKinney, owner of Northeast Insurance Advisors, in late February and early March, but as meetings and events ground to a halt, they were already out of luck.

“It’s kind of like trying to buy homeowner’s insurance as your house is starting to catch fire... it’s too late,” says McKinney.

 

Zehnder’s of Frankenmuth is one of six recipients of the James Beard Foundation’s 2020 America’s Classics Award, which is given to locally owned restaurants that have timeless appeal and are beloved regionally for quality food that reflects the character of their community. Per the foundation, “Zehnder’s of Frankenmuth, a chicken dinner behemoth positioned between Detroit and Michigan’s summer lake destination, is decidedly on the beaten path. William Zehnder Sr. and his wife, Emilie, bought a former hotel in 1928.

 

In early April Detroit’s TCF Center became a 1,000-bed alternate care site to help ease the burden on local hospitals during the COVID-19 crisis. The 723,000-square-foot facility became the TCF Regional Care Center. According to Pure Michigan’s Michelle Grinnell, who serves as public information officer for the state’s alternate care sites, 39 patients were treated at TCF, the last of whom was discharged on May 7.