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The Strategy Behind a One-of-a-Kind Event (in a Pandemic)

The Challenge: as part of a multi-day, multi-city retreat, create a one-of-a-kind dinner event in Aspen for a group of high-level Presidents and CEOs. Aspen is a food town, home to countless A-list restaurants and the world-famous Food & Wine Classic, so what’s so hard about that?

The task was not in finding extraordinary dining, the challenge for this client became tailoring an experience that the attendees haven’t already had or couldn’t reserve on a regular family vacation. Oh yeah, and it also had to be done amidst a global pandemic.

In our extensive strategy consulting with the client, two of the major purposes that emerged for this particular event were to appreciate Colorado in a new way and to foster connection and time together for the group. Understanding this desired human experience became another important component in our quest for the unique.

The event was scheduled for September, a memorable time of year for any visit to the land of the Aspens and prime opportunity to engage all of the senses. We needed a high-touch, quintessential Colorado experience and found our answer in a ride on the Aspen Mountain Gondola.

Now we had the event location and an exclusive “venue” that also would strategically encourage connection but how would we make sure to provide the culinary experience expected from a trip to Aspen? By partnering with the world-famous culinary team at the five-star luxury hotel, The Little Nell!

The Bespoke team worked with the Little Nell to provide a four-course meal and wine pairings for each attendee to enjoy as they took the journey up to the top of Aspen Mountain. With only a maximum of four attendees in each cabin and compostable, packaged individual meals, we were also easily able to follow the counties current social distancing guidelines for COVID-19 safety.

As the riders came down the mountain and into the gondola house, the Little Nell staff expertly removed their first-course bags, refilled wine tumblers and sent the guests on their way with a main course and a second opportunity to enjoy the views and their intimate conversations.

While a surprise September snowstorm made the views feel more like a snow globe than an autumn wonderland, the attendees cherished the occasion to spend time with their friends. Several attendees identified the gondola ride as the most impactful opportunity of the entire retreat to get to know their group members and build a stronger and more intimate organization.

Challenge complete!