DENVER — A new bill would help Colorado's hard hit event industry by providing a rebate to event organizers.
Qualifying events would be eligible for a 10% rebate on what is being defined as "hard costs" for the event, like food and beverage service (excluding alcohol), venue rental and entertainment. Events would also receive a 25% rebate for COVID-19 related costs related to public health orders or technology needed for virtual and in-person setups.
An event would be defined as eligible if it generates 25 overnight stays at a hotel. The bill is designed to attract new events to Colorado and support existing events that have been hurt during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We’re not putting any restrictions on what type of event it has to be, but as long as it produces 25 paid hotel stays, then it will be a qualifying event," Rep. Dylan Roberts, D-Avon, said. "That’s going to realistically be those large conferences that happen in hotel conference rooms, it will be the festivals the happen in our mountain communities and it will be the larger weddings,"
The bill, sponsored by Roberts, would allocate $10 million to the program using funds from the state's economic stimulus plan. The bill passed its first House committee hearing and will likely be heard on the House floor next week.
"When people come to our communities, whether it’s in the City in Denver or out in a mountain town, they stay. They stay in a hotel, they go to restaurants, they go shopping, so the economic effect will multiply upon itself when people choose Colorado for a large event," Roberts said.
Carly Wilde, the owner of Milk Glass Productions, was excited to hear about the measure and hopes it will help provide relief to an industry that was hit hard over the past year. Wilde planned 45 weddings that were supposed to take place in 2020, but only 15 happened. She says all of the weddings have rescheduled for future dates.
"Every dollar counts — it all adds up quickly with a wedding," Wilde said. "Any rebate would be so helpful."
The Westin Riverfront Resort and Spa is currently hosting events at a reduced capacity. About 30% of the hotel's business comes from social and corporate events, but when the ski season ends, that figure can jump to 70%.
"We in the Vail Valley would support anything that could provide an incentive to corporate event planners and social event planners to bring these groups back," said Kristen Pryor, The Westin Riverfront Resort and Spa's general manager. "It would definitely help the economy."