For the first time in its history, the Colorado Press Association will host its annual convention outside of Denver. The 140th Annual Convention is April 13-14, 2018, at the Antlers Hotel in downtown Colorado Springs.
CPA members were asked in a survey after the 2015 convention if they wanted to move the convention around the state, and a majority said they did.
The two-year contract with the Denver West Sheraton in Lakewood expired this year, and during that time, CPA staff looked at other cities and venues to hold the convention.
Colorado Springs was chosen for several reasons, said CPA CEO Jerry Raehal. Colorado’s second largest city is close to Denver and a destination location, letting attendees experience other parts of Colorado but still remaining on the Front Range.
“If we forget something or there’s a problem, it wouldn’t create a major ordeal to go back to Denver,“ said Raehal.
The staff and board considered multiple hotels in Colorado Springs, but ultimately the historic Antlers Hotel was picked because of the good rates, quality amenities and it is in the heart of The Spring’s downtown.
Convention room rates are $119 a night, which includes complimentary parking — normally $25 a night — and WiFi.
Other considerations for next year’s convention include: No Friday night dinner, giving convention-goers time for team building and exploring Colorado Springs.
Removing the Friday dinner, could also lower convention costs, which in 2017, convention expenses were up more than 18 percent in part due to adding the Friday night dinner.
Food costs alone were more than $20,000 than revenue received from registrations, so it’s thanks to convention sponsors that the price for attendees has not increased, Raehal said. The 2016 convention saw a 300 percent increase in sponsorship from the previous year.
“This is why we make such a big deal about our sponsors at the convention,” Raehal said. “They keep the costs low for our members to attend, so we hope when people come to it, they realize how truly important our sponsors are to what were trying to accomplish.
“We set a high bar each year, and it only gets higher,” Raehal added. “Our surveys the last four years have shown satisfaction improvement in key areas, such as speaker line-up and overall convention, and we will do what we can to make the 2018 event even better. We think having it at the Antlers will be one factor in doing so.”