Sold Out Success: Visit Downtown Colorado Springs’ Haute Chocolate Hop

Emilie Harris  |  March 13th, 2024

In 2021, Downtown Colorado Springs approached Bandwango with a sweet idea that would help further their organization’s mission. The goal was to strategically launch a paid event pass that supported their primary objective of boosting awareness and driving people through the doors of Downtown businesses. The result? The Haute Chocolate Hop.

Since its inception, the pass has been so successful that it’s returned annually and become a staple for the destination – not to mention, a vital part of the organization’s success.

Kelsee Swenn with Downtown Colorado Springs explained the purpose behind the pass, saying, “By having each participating business offer a gourmet treat, passholders are encouraged to explore areas of Downtown and businesses that they may not have discovered otherwise.”

/assets/main/collections/421533023 830448235793136 6924044800041470608 N 1710349335.jpg

The Pass

This year’s pass featured 20 local vendors, each offering a different specialty item. The pass launched a week prior to the event and was priced at $10, providing Downtown Colorado Springs a strong return on investment. On the night of the event, passholders presented their mobile pass at participating businesses to receive their gourmet, chocolatey treats.

Downtown Colorado Springs utilized a gamified check-in system to encourage stops at each vendor – besides getting more delicious treats, more check-ins also meant an increased chance of winning one of two Downtown gift cards.


Each year, Downtown Colorado Springs markets their pass on three different channels – social media, email, and print. They saw that the most impactful numbers came from social media: they reached 9,655 accounts, drove 209 shares and 95 clicks. Downtown Colorado Springs also noted almost 6,000 opens on a teaser email sent out, showing the effectiveness of building anticipation prior to the event.

Their marketing strategy coupled with the community’s commitment lead to another successful event in 2024.

Event Success

Each year the event has sold out, and 2024 was no different. The pass also garnered nearly 3,000 redemptions, all in a single night!

After the event concluded, Downtown Colorado Springs sent out a survey to both passholders and participating businesses to further gauge the success of the event and confirm that their primary objectives were achieved. 94% of respondents said they discovered a new business that they plan on visiting again, and 58% of respondents said they made a purchase during the event.

Future Plans

The success of the Haute Chocolate Hop has not only raised awareness of Downtown businesses, it’s also become a local favorite that the community looks forward to each year. “We will continue to host Haute Chocolate Hop annually as a key piece of our brand awareness strategy for Downtown Colorado Springs,” says Swenn.

Keep an eye out for more Haute Chocolate Hops to come!

Check out the Downtown Colorado Springs website for more of their paid event passes: