For CIG, there’s no “too soon” to start planning.

Above the Fold: Raising the Ribbon to Open The Westin Denver International Airport

For a venue long awaited since 1995 when Denver International Airport (DEN) began operating, it wouldn’t be enough to simply open the hotel doors and let in all the guests. Only a striking, momentous event would do.

CIG rose to the occasion, literally levitating the firm’s reputation for unconventionally exceptional events. Bigger-picture thinking, coupled with meticulous planning and execution, yielded local and national attention and media exposure for the city, the airport and the hotel.

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For CIG, there’s no “too soon” to start planning. The team began visualizing the hotel opening event more than a year before the targeted event date. Close collaboration with the DEN and The Westin DEN teams allowed CIG to get the vision, and the eventual reality, just right.

Mama always said, “Don’t take anything good for granted.” CIG expertly applied this advice to the media strategy for the hotel opening. After a year of tours and milestone events, CIG recommended closing the hotel for media visits three months before the opening event, generating anticipation and interest to guarantee media coverage. CIG’s media strategy worked, to the tune of 180+ unique stories for nearly 295 million media impressions valued at $1 million in exposure. It was a significant event for the airport, by design, and it set Starwood Hotels & Resorts’ new exposure benchmark for hotel openings worldwide.

Worth. The. Wait. The day of the event, and way-before-your-morning-coffee early, the CIG team escorted 20 print, broadcast and online reporters and photographers through the newly finished space. Sneak peek, panoramic footage revealed the hotel’s swooping form – designed to resemble a bird in flight – and feet-sweeping sense of place.

Raise the bar? Let’s raise the ribbon. CIG arranged – and concealed for maximum dramatic effect – aerialists to bring the ribbon to Denver Mayor Michael Hancock’s scissors.

More than 600 attendees closed the event with what else? – an uplifting champagne toast. Event attendance surpassed projections by hundreds with representation from all desired audiences.

Forceful winds on the high plains, where DEN is located, can turn wicked even on the clearest, sunniest Colorado day. When the hotel opened in late-November 2015, chilling winds whipped through the plaza that connects the hotel to the airport. But what makes an extraordinary event? Diligent and thorough planning, suspense and the assurance of knowing that CIG always has a plan C…

“I have to say, this is the most creative ribbon cutting I’ve ever done.” – Denver Mayor Michael Hancock

… with a touch of luck. The wind calmed to a breeze just in time for airport leaders and area dignitaries to detail the hotel’s history. Following the public address portion of the event, two aerialists emerged as planned, climbing the black fabric and artfully commanding the ribbon to its cutting.