Top Company 2021: Tourism & Hospitality
These three companies are shaking up the world of tourism and hospitality
In its 34th year, ColoradoBiz‘s Top Company honors the Colorado companies that have drive, determination, a vision and a plan and are ultimately making the state a better place to live and work. These three companies – one winner and two finalists –represent the 2021 Top Companies in Tourism and Hospitality.
As one of North America’s premier privately owned luxury destination management companies, Rocky Mountain Connections has created thousands of stunning events and exceptional programs, from Aspen to Napa, to the low tides and beaches of the Low-country.
In 1989, RMC was a small destination management company that generated $300,000 annually. Over the 30-plus years since inception, RMC has grown into a multi-million-dollar company that operates coast to coast in 30 different markets.
Despite the pandemic that devastated the tourism and hospitality industries, RMC kept 40% of its workforce employed last year and was the first or among the first in the destination-management sector to bring everyone back.
“Our industry is all about customer service and the experience of the guest,” says owner/CEO Shawn Thomson. “We also want our employees to be happy. We instill our culture through rigorous training in the first two weeks, hands-on training and video learning options, internal social media pages to connect on personal levels, and a six-month review to make sure on-boarding has been successful. We find the more educated our internal team is, the easier it is for our clients to experience consistency in all offices. We love what we do and we want that passion to exude to our clients and partners.”
In 2020, RMC donated more than $30,000 to local charities and $15,000 in college scholarships as a “thank you” to the community that provides its clients with great entertainment and venue options for events.
Birdcall is a small restaurant group that specializes in making all-natural foods accessible to all, while supporting the local communities around its locations. The company has created a proprietary technology to run its POS systems and all of the tech involved for its restaurants.
Currently with four locations – three in Denver and one in Colorado Springs, Birdcall plans to expand quickly over the next few years and enter new markets in different states.
The restaurant group created a OnePercent program, modeled after the 1% for the Planet program from Patagonia. It partners with local schools and nonprofits to help raise funds and support them however it can. In 2020, Birdcall partnered with more than 40 organizations to donate a large sum back to the communities that support Birdcall restaurants. It also has a program for the employees at the unit level to receive a designated number of hours per month to volunteer at the nonprofit of their choosing that Birdcall pays them for.
Garden of the Gods Visitor & Nature Center
Garden of the Gods Visitor & Nature Center serves as the educational heart of the Garden of the Gods Park. Free interactive exhibits teach visitors of all ages about the plants, wildlife, geology and ecology of the area, as well as the history of the indigenous Americans who visited the park. Through public education, the Garden of the Gods Foundation is helping protect this National Natural Landmark for years to come.
From nature walks, Geo-Trekker Theater, arts & crafts, children’s programs and history talks – the Garden of the Gods Visitor & Nature Center hosts a wide variety of fun and educational experiences year-round.
Over the past 25 years, Garden of the Gods Visitor & Nature Center has donated more than $4.5 million to support the preservation and maintenance of the Garden of the Gods Park.
During COVID-19, the center saw visitation reduced by more than 55% from normal. Visitation drives revenue and that is what allows the Center to make its annual Park Support donation.
Still, the center decided to re-open after the lockdown in order to support employment for its partners that work within the center. Thus, the center was able to support business operations for its five partner businesses.