Experience Colorado Springs at Pikes Peak, the convention and visitors bureau, is hardly unique. More than 450 cities in the United States have similar organizations, as do hundreds of cities abroad.
Almost all are funded by hotel lodging taxes, and all compete for the same pool of business and leisure travelers.
“[With its newly-renovated convention center] Denver’s made the commitment to be a Tier 1 city,” said Terry Sullivan, CEO of the CVB.
Tier 1 cities, according to Sullivan, include Las Vegas, New York, Chicago, Dallas, and a few others — places with at least 500,000 square feet of contiguous meeting space, as well as tens of thousands of hotel rooms and a major international airport.
Colorado Springs, by contrast, is a “Tier 3” city — with limited air service, no convention center and small, privately owned meeting spaces.
And, he added, Denver’s not just competing with the big boys – it’s competing with Colorado Springs as well.
Big convention centers like Denver’s are attractive to smaller groups, since their flexible floor plans enable them to simultaneously host multiple medium-sized gatherings.