California Meetings + Events Spring/Summer 2022

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Greater Ontario

PRIORITIZE OUTCOMES IN THE INLAND EMPIRE

Wild Countryside

MEET IN BUCOLIC WINE COUNTRY

MEETINGSMAGS.COM

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SPRING

SUMMER

2022

Life’s a

BEACH CREATE MEMORABLE EXPERIENCES MEETING BY THE WATER

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SO MUCH. SO CLOSE. SO NEVADA. Trek along hundreds of miles of trails. Cruise or cast a line on the waters of Lake Mead. Paddleboard, jet pack, or kayak at Lake Las Vegas. Play at one of our nine championship golf courses. All of this, just minutes from the Las Vegas Strip.

Visithendersonnv.com

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Pasadena’s walkable entertainment districts, memorable destination experience, and compelling off-site venues provide a picture-perfect canvas to curate meetings and conventions that leave a lasting impression. • • • • •

GBAC Accredited Convention Center 130,000 sq. feet of flexible meeting space 2,500 hotel rooms 4 major airports 10 miles from downtown Los Angeles

PLAN NOW AT PASADENAMEETINGS.COM

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Contents

S PRIN G / SUMME R 2 02 2

18 Feature //

Dive In! BY JANET FULLWOOD

From La Jolla to Mendocino, consider these seven venues for splashy gatherings.

In Every Issue //

4 President’s Note 8 Meeting Notes

Places, products, and inspiring ideas to take your next meeting from drab to fab

Descanso Beach Club

14 Trend Report

Greater Ontario

PRIORITIZE OUTCOMES IN THE INLAND EMPIRE

EDEN RIFT WINERY’S GAVILAN VALE

MEETINGSMAGS.COM

16 Destination

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SPRING

SUMMER

2022

Life’s a

BEACH CREATE MEMORABLE EXPERIENCES MEETING BY THE WATER

Take care of business in Greater Ontario.

24 Industry Update

On the Cover

Meetings + Events infographic and California news

The Hotel del Coronado near San Diego epitomizes Southern California.

28 People Profile

Cody Barrera, who orchestrates events at LA’s celebrated Music Center, describes the soirée he’d love to throw.

Wild Countryside

PHOTO BY ADOBE / HEATHER

Scapegrace Distillery Dinner in the Redbird Garden

P H OTO S : D E S C A N S O B E AC H C LU B ; S C A P E G R AC E D I S T I L L E RY

The authors of “Suddenly Hybrid” share insights on getting the most out of hybrid gatherings.

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P H OTO S : D E S C A N S O B E AC H C LU B ; S C A P E G R AC E D I S T I L L E RY

ca.meetingsmags.com

PRESIDENT TAMMY GALVIN

ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER – NATIONAL SALES BOB HADDAD 303-617-0548 | BHADDAD@GREENSPRING.COM

Digital Edition Regional stories on the top meeting and event venues, advice from professionals, and reports on food, beverage, décor, technology and more… AT YOUR FINGERTIPS!

EDITORIAL DIRECTOR ALESHA TAYLOR GROUP EDITOR KATELYN BLOOMQUIST SENIOR EDITOR TODD R. BERGER EDITOR SHELLEY LEVITT ASSOCIATE EDITOR AMANDA CHRISTENSEN DIGITAL CONTENT SPECIALIST AUDREY PICKERING

CREATIVE DIRECTOR TONYA SUTFIN ART DIRECTORS MICAH EDEL, TRACI ZELLMANN SENIOR ART DIRECTOR TED ROSSITER

PRODUCTION MANAGER LY NGUYEN DIGITAL PRODUCTION DIRECTOR DEIDRA ANDERSON ADVERTISING COORDINATOR MIKAYLA SNYDER SALES + MARKETING SPECIALIST MADELINE BRAVERMAN

ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER + DIRECTOR OF MARKETING, EVENTS + PARTNERSHIPS ARTHUR MORRISSEY EVENT + OFFICE MANAGER RICK KRUEGER COMMUNICATIONS SPECIALIST TEGHAN MURPHY MARKETING + EVENTS COORDINATOR RACHEL TAYLOR

DIRECTOR OF BUSINESS OPERATIONS KATHIE GORECKI ACCOUNTING ASSOCIATE NATASHA BAJJU

REPRINTS For high-quality reprints of 500 or more, call 612-371-5882 or email Lnguyen@greenspring.com. For address changes, ordering single copies, cancellations, or general questions about your subscription please contact customer service at 866-660-6247.

9401 James Ave. S., Suite 152, Bloomington, MN 55431 Phone 612-371-5800 Fax 612-371-5801 HOUR MEDIA CEO Stefan Wanczyk President John Balardo

CA.MEETINGSMAGS.COM/ARCHIVE The pages between the covers of this magazine (except for any inserted material) are made from wood fiber that was procured from forests that are sustainably managed to remain healthy, productive, and biologically diverse. California Meetings + Events is published quarterly. © 2022 Greenspring Media. All rights reserved. PRINTED IN THE U.S.A.

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P RES I DENT ’ S NOT E

The Journey Ahead

ca.meetingsmags.com cameetingsmags

“A river cuts through a rock, not because of its power, but its persistence.” —JAMES N. WATKINS

» IF YOU ARE READING THIS, you know a thing or two about perseverance. In fact, you likely personify it. While myriad industries were affected by COVID-19, perhaps none came to a screeching halt quite like meetings and events. As the pandemic raged on, many industries endured fits and starts to their ability to reopen, while meeting planners and destination marketing organizations remained fully immersed in a nightmarish Zoomland waiting for employees to return, travel to resume, and hotel occupancy rates to rise. And yet here we are… cautiously emerging from behind our masks wanting to believe that this time it’s for real. That we’ve made it—stronger, wiser, forever changed as individuals and organizations. At Greenspring Media, we genuinely couldn’t be more thrilled to navigate this “new norm” with you. Just before the pandemic’s onslaught, our parent company Hour Media was in negotiations to purchase the Meetings + Events and Custom Publishing divisions of Tiger Oak Media. Although the pandemic grossly stretched our desired timeline, the wait was worth it. And now we are in a unique position to help this industry forge a solid path to recovery. How will we do it? By expanding the audience reach to new highs, reinvigorating content by listening and engaging with meetings and events professionals, and sharing best practices through these pages and across our digital platforms. We will do this all with one goal in mind: to help you navigate this post-pandemic world and to drive business for both your organization as well as our loyal advertising partners across the country. Thankfully, the amazing editorial, sales, and production team that has been devoted to these publications for decades is on board and will play instrumental roles in achieving that goal, as well as bringing back—in person—our Best Of programs. Greenspring Media has worked closely with the hospitality, meetings, and events industries along with their suppliers and partners throughout our 55-year history. We understand the challenges you have faced, we see the bright opportunities on the horizon, and we look forward to the journey to get there, together.

President tgalvin@greenspring.com

P H OTO : DA R I N K A M N E T Z

TAMMY GALVIN

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HYATT REGENCY HUNTINGTON BEACH RESORT & SPA

Explore the HB Collection 4 oceanfront properties 1,400 guestrooms 185,000 sq. ft. of flexible event space

PASÉA HOTEL & SPA

Almost 50% of total meeting space can accommodate open-air events

THE WATERFRONT BEACH RESORT, A HILTON HOTEL

1-mile walkable footprint Near 3 major airports 300+ days of sunshine Only ONE Surf City USA®

Visit MeetInHB.com

KIMPTON SHOREBREAK RESORT

IN YOUR INBOX

P H OTO : DA R I N K A M N E T Z

Digital stories on the top meeting and event venues, advice from professionals, and reports on food, beverage, décor, technology and more!

Stay up-to-date! CA.MEETINGSMAGS.COM/NEWSLETTER-SIGNUP-CALIFORNIA

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Mission Inn Hotel & Spa

The Riverside Convention & Visitors Bureau family works tirelessly to ensure that meetings and convention guests feel right at home in Riverside. We know that not every meeting planner is the same—which is why we customize our services for each and every one of them. Our Concierge Program caters to every meeting planner’s need – one of the reasons Riverside’s percentage of repeat business is the envy of the Convention & Visitors Bureau industry!

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CRESCENT CITY

EUREKA

BIG BEND

REDDING

SANTA ROSA

Outdoor Event Space

SACRAMENTO

SAN FRANCISCO

STOCKTON MARIPOSA SANTA CRUZ

MERCED FRESNO

BAKERSFIELD SAN LUIS OBISPO

BARSTOW BAKER

Riverside Convention Center

SANTA BARBARA LOS ANGELES

BIG BEAR COACHELLA

ANAHEIM

RIVERSIDE

Custom Events

PALM SPRINGS

SAN DIEGO

Riverside is the perfect place to host meetings and conventions, with a wealth of venues and amenities that cater to any meeting planner’s needs. The Riverside Convention Center is suited for a wide range of meetings and events that can accommodate groups from 10-3,500; with 22 meeting rooms and a fully carpeted exhibit hall; and did we mention our walkable downtown? In the downtown area you will find over 500 guest rooms, restaurants, clubs, museums, entertainment, and the Ontario International Airport just a short 17 miles away. Whether you are planning a small meeting or a large convention, our team is here to help you create an unforgettable experience for your attendees. We will assist with every detail from start to finish, so you can focus on what matters most: your event!

Let’s start planning together!

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M EETI N G N OT E S Products, Places & Inspiring Ideas

J

onathan Solis, bartender at the recently renovated Torrance Marriott Redondo Beach, loves customizing cocktails. “I like getting to a point where anyone [can walk] into my bar, and I can confidently create a personalized cocktail specific to them,” he says. In fact, Solis’ creativity led him to be named one of three bartender finalists in Marriott’s hemisphere-spanning Masters of the Craft epicurean competition. One of his favorite creations is The Green Apio, which takes its name from the Spanish word for celery. “I crafted this cocktail drawing inspiration from celery bitters,” Solis says. “This is not a common ingredient, and I wanted to challenge myself to create a refreshing, healthy spring cocktail to get everyone excited for summer.”

»

Recipe courtesy of Torrance Marriott Redondo Beach

INGREDIENTS

2 ounces Botanist Gin 1/2 ounce Chartreuse Green liqueur 1/2 ounce St-Germain Elderflower liqueur 3-5 slices each of cucumber and ginger 1 ounce fresh lime juice 1/2 ounce simple syrup 2 dashes of celery bitters 1 cucumber strip 1 celery stalk 1. In a cocktail shaker, muddle the cucumber, ginger, lime juice, and simple syrup. 2. Add the gin, liqueurs, and celery bitters. 3. Add ice and shake vigorously. 4. Double strain beverage into a glass garnished with a cucumber strip. 5. Add a celery stalk as an additional garnish.

THE BEVERLY HILLS HOTEL MARKS A MILESTONE ANNIVERSARY The Beverly Hills Hotel opened in 1912, and the iconic property is devoting this year to celebrating its 110th birthday. Among the festivities are anniversary libations named after celebrities of yesteryear, including the Mary Pickford, the Rat Pack, and Elizabeth’s Chocolate Martini (as in Elizabeth Taylor, of course, who was a frequent guest), and a poolside summer movie series (“Troop Beverly Hills” and “Beverly Hills Cop” will be among the films shown). Guests will also be able to order a $1,912 upgrade to the hotel’s celebrated McCarthy salad: The signature dish will be garnished with gold leaf flakes, lobster, and caviar; paired with a bottle of Dom Pérignon; and served in a commemorative bowl made by Bernardaud that guests can bring home.

P H O T O S : T O R R A N C E M A R R I O T T R E D O N D O B E A C H ; T H E B E V E R LY H I L L S H O T E L , D O R C H E ST E R CO L L E C T I O N ; (O P P O S I T E ) S C A P E G R AC E D I ST I L L E RY

THE GREEN APIO

The Green Apio, Solis says, is a great fit for groups. “It’s such a versatile beverage,” he explains. “You can swap out the gin for tequila, rum, or vodka. It’s also a drink that can be batched and served in pitchers, which makes it easy to enjoy in any setting. The fun part of batching the cocktail is that guests still get to enjoy the showmanship of making the drink, but they wait less time to taste it.”

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» RESEARCH SUGGESTS memories

SCAPEGRACE DISTILLERY HOSTS GASTRONOMIC JOURNEY

P H O T O S : T O R R A N C E M A R R I O T T R E D O N D O B E A C H ; T H E B E V E R LY H I L L S H O T E L , D O R C H E ST E R CO L L E C T I O N ; (O P P O S I T E ) S C A P E G R AC E D I ST I L L E RY

Sensory engagement produces a memorable product launch. BY KATHY A. MCDONALD

are retained longer if more than one sense is activated during an experience. With this in mind, Scapegrace Distillery invited media guests, social media influencers, and liquor business pros to participate in a botanical, color-specific, multisensory gastronomic journey for the U.S. product launch of its New Zealandmade premium spirit. Held in May, the scenic setting for the event was the verdant outdoor garden venue at downtown Los Angeles’ Redbird restaurant within the historic Vibiana event complex, a lauded adaptive reuse of the former Cathedral of St. Vibiana and its grounds. (The singular outdoor venue accommodates 96 seated or up to 200 standing.) Dinner was under the expert culinary direction of Redbird’s chef and owner Neal Fraser, while Bar Director Tobin Shea handled the creative cocktails. Exploring the nature of color was the evening’s engaging premise and inspiration for the flavorful and multihued dishes and craft cocktails. All were designed specifically for the six-course tasting menu served to 50 guests. The night began among the blooming vegetable and flower garden beds with the purple-hued All Black Cocktail: a well-balanced mixture of Scapegrace Black Gin, lemon, and Curaçao liqueur. Once guests were seated under a canopy of heat lamps and olive trees, the colors of the overhead lighting changed with each course, as did the bespoke cocktails. A Study in Blue cocktail (Scapegrace Black Gin, Butterfly Pea flower, white vermouth, blue Curaçao liqueur, FernetBranca liqueur, and lemon essence) complemented the seafood entree—a John Dory filet with morel mushrooms surrounded by white asparagus that had been dyed blue. An Instagram-ready tableau laid out all the elements found in the small-batch gin (including pineapple and sweet potato), an appropriate visualization and tactile rendering of Scapegrace’s botanical ingredients. Another table was covered in a canopy of green ferns serving as a photo-ready backdrop for the elegantly shaped dark bottles. Scapegrace Black Gin uniquely pours out black, but when it’s mixed with tonic and/ or citrus, it transforms from noir to a light lavender. Drinks that change color? That’s every influencer’s dream and a memorable finale to the night when participants poured tonic into a tall cocktail glass for their last picture-perfect cocktail. scapegracedistillery.com

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M EETI N G N OT E S Products, Places & Inspiring Ideas

Rural Retreat: Eden Rift’s Gavilan Vale » OFTEN IT SEEMS every corner of California is completely built up, but that’s not true in inland San Benito County, an hour south of San Jose and east of Monterey. Here, one can discover wild countryside, abundant wildlife (bobcats and wild boar roam freely), and the meticulously kept vineyards of the Cienega Valley American Viticultural Area. Eden Rift Vineyards is found within this bucolic landscape on 230 acres with well-tended pinot noir, chardonnay, and zinfandel vineyards; scenic hillsides; and a historic grove of California oaks that, as of January 2022, is home to a glass-walled, 300-person versatile event pavilion called Gavilan Vale. “People haven’t experienced anything quite like it before,” says Liz Curtis, CEO of Fulcrum Group, which manages Eden Rift’s Gavilan Vale, booking corporate and private events. Eden Rift’s visionary owner, Christian Pillsbury, is an active partner. The interior of Gavilan Vale is beautiful and sophisticated with crystal chandeliers. Outside, there is a scenic deck overlooking rows of vineyards. The entire structure, including luxury bathroom facilities, is tucked into a woodsy canyon. Privacy is a given, and noise is never an issue. “It’s Woodside or Atherton meets Napa with Reno’s level of restrictions,” is how Curtis explains the picturesque wine country setting, its inherent versatility, and lack of sound constraints or ending-time restrictions. A political fundraiser was the first nonwedding function held here, and Curtis contends the location is ideal for corporate retreats. A helipad on-site promises easy

Gavilan Vale’s shaded deck looks out at Eden Rift’s rolling vineyards.

access for executives, and other attendees can drive or shuttle in from the Bay Area. “People feel like they are nestled in a magical place,” Curtis says. Curtis anticipates a phase two and phase three to Gavilan Vale: a “glamping” (glamorous camping) component for those who want to stay on-site and, eventually, an outdoor amphitheater. Other locations on the winery’s grounds are also event-friendly: a scenic bluff with cozy

couch seating is a ready-made, unconventional breakout space, while Eden Rift’s 1906-built, historic Prairie-style Dickinson House tasting room, with a catering kitchen and expansive lawn, is also at hand. ATV tours of the property are an educational diversion, and premium wine tasting from the estate winery is, of course, another option. gavilanvale.com/corporate-retreats

P H O T O S : J E L A U P H O T O G R A P H Y ; ( O P P O S I T E ) D E L M A R B E A C H H O T E L ; A L L S E AT E D I N A B A R N

BY KATHY A. MCDONALD

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DEL MAR BEACH HOTEL MAKES ITS DEBUT

There’s a new oceanfront option for small groups and corporate retreats. After undergoing a multimillion-dollar redesign, Del Mar Beach Hotel made its debut in June 2022. Del Mar’s only hotel on the beach has 46 guest rooms and suites, as well as two residences. The property is managed by Azul Hospitality Group, a San Diego-based hospitality management company. Del Mar Beach Hotel’s two residences, named The Beach House and The Bungalow, can double as venues for small gatherings. The 1,600-square-foot, three-bedroom Beach House features a large living room, separate dining area, and a well-appointed kitchen with awning windows that open to the rear patio and bar, an area that boasts a covered outdoor kitchen, barbecue options, a fire pit, and separate dining and seating areas. Del Mar Village, which is just steps away from the hotel, offers numerous other venues for dining and meeting. The hotel will offer several guest amenities, including all things complimentary, like a glass of wine upon check-in, espresso in the lobby, and beach cruisers. A retro hip Airstream Cafe will debut on-site later this year and offer coffee, juices, pastries, and sandwiches. Coming soon are guest programs that will include beachfront movies, stargazing, and wellness and fitness activities. delmarhotel.com

Tahlia Fischer of All Seated in a Barn

P H O T O S : J E L A U P H O T O G R A P H Y ; ( O P P O S I T E ) D E L M A R B E A C H H O T E L ; A L L S E AT E D I N A B A R N

An Equine Experience

The Beach House The Bungalow

Launched in 2018, the Bakersfield-based All Seated in a Barn is an equine rescue with the mission of saving horses and donkeys that are about to be shipped across the border to slaughterhouses. One of the ways the nonprofit supports this mission is by renting out its barn as a venue for social and corporate events. Proceeds go directly back into the nonprofit to cover overhead costs and the expenses of veterinary and rehabilitation care. With a capacity of 500, the barn has hosted a wide range of events, from weddings and live music nights to cornhole tournaments and farm bureau award winners. “When a group books with us,” says Tahlia Fischer, the organization’s founder and director, “[they’re] not just helping the cause—it’s a chance to become more educated about the horse industry and to experience camaraderie with your group in a unique environment.” Fischer is open to arranging team-building activities that might include feeding or hand-walking the horses, cleaning out stalls, or pitching in on landscaping work. “We’ve never done anything like that,” Fischer admits. “But with some thought and planning, we could definitely make it happen.” allseatedinabarn.com

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Tenaya at Yosemite is a meeting destination that’s a destination in itself. Located just two miles from Yosemite National Park, Tenaya offers more than 18,000 square feet of meeting space and 14 meeting rooms. Your group can stay at our AAA Four-Diamond resort, two-bedroom Explorer Cabins or cottages. Give your team something to look forward to. Plan your Yosemite retreat today.

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TenayaLodge.com/meetings | (877) 635-5807

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TR EN D RE P ORT Hybrid Meetings

Hybrid Know-How » LIKE IT OR NOT, hybrid meetings are here to stay. Managing these gatherings, where some attendees are in the room and others are Zooming in, requires new skills from meeting planners. In their new book “Suddenly Hybrid: Managing the Modern Meeting” (John Wiley & Sons Inc.), authors Karin Reed and Joseph Allen, Ph.D., offer a guide to navigating this new normal. She’s a former Emmy-winning broadcast journalist who now coaches C-suite executives in effective on-camera communications; he’s a professor of industrial and organizational psychology at the University of Utah and a leading expert on workplace meetings.

Reed and Allen are also the co-authors of a previous book, “Suddenly Virtual: Making Remote Meetings Work.” They shared insights and advice with California Meetings + Events. M+E: Is there more to planning a hybrid meeting than providing remote attendees with a Zoom link? JA: Actually, there’s more to planning any meeting than scheduling a room, physical or otherwise. Too often we just schedule a meeting without thinking about if the meeting is needed in the first place or if another form of communication would suffice.

As for hybrid specifically, you should follow all the good meeting practices that have been preached for years (e.g., have an agenda/purpose, identify appropriate attendees, make sure you schedule the right space, start/end on time, and so on), and then you have to be prepared to manage a multimodal communication environment. That, my friend, is the hard part. You have to be prepared to ma ke sure the remote attendees, video or audio, aren’t lost to the in-person conversation. And since hybrid can include all sorts of multimodal compositions (two in a room with three on Zoom, three in a room with two on Zoom who may or may not have cameras on),

P H O T O : A D O B E / I N S TA _ P H O T O S

Read tips from two bestselling authors on the challenges and opportunities of managing the modern meeting. BY SHELLEY LEVITT

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P H O T O : A D O B E / I N S TA _ P H O T O S

for the remote participants. It’s so easy to forget the people online; we already have memes to joke about it. By assigning an ally, it allows the organizer to facilitate the meeting and the ally to help keep remote folks involved.

assuming that you know how to navigate this environment without a little practice is probably not a safe assumption. KR: With a hybrid meeting involving in-person and virtual attendees, there’s always a risk that those joining remotely will be forgotten unless efforts are made by the leader and attendees to ensure that doesn’t happen. That means the leader needs to raise everyone’s awareness about who is in the meeting room virtually and physically. Policies like letting the remote attendees speak first also can help to ensure those who are virtual have their voices heard. It sets the tone for the rest of the meeting. Attendees also can do their part by prompting remote attendees to give their opinions.

KR: In a hybrid meeting, a leader has to be more proactive in facilitating the discussion. Just letting it be a free-for-all won’t work because those who are virtual will have difficulty breaking into the conversation being had around the conference room table. Establish a turn-taking policy that works for your team’s culture, and then make sure people stick to it. By letting everyone know how to get into the conversation queue, it levels the playing field of ideas, allowing people to participate in a more egalitarian way. M+E: In pre-pandemic times, a large meeting, complete with keynote speakers and presentations, might have taken place in a hotel ballroom with hundreds of people in attendance. Is it possible to do that type of event in a hybrid format? If so, how can a planner avoid some common pitfalls?

M+E: For brainstorming sessions, where some attendees will be on-site and others will be remote, what are two or three things that meeting planners should do before the meeting?

JA: Yes, it’s possible. The question is, are the in-person people trained on how to facilitate such a meeting, and do they have the right equipment to do it? In other words, you need the hardware, the software, and the skillware to do it. For example, one common pitfall is calling something hybrid and then it really becomes a lot of remote attendees watching in-person folks have a meeting. To avoid that, make sure that the remote attendees can be seen and heard, and encourage them to chime in even when it might feel like they are interrupting.

JA: First, figure out how people will share their ideas. Perhaps assign a person in the room to record in-room ideas onto a virtual whiteboard that the remote attendees have access to and can add their ideas to directly. Second, identify in-room allies

KR: It’s also important to train the speakers or at least make them aware of the virtual audience. Suggest that they play not just to the people sitting in front of them but also to the people joining remotely. Consider the camera as the conduit to that

audience, and spend time speaking to the camera lens as much as they do to the audience in the physical room. M+E: W hat are some lessons you’ve learned about running large hybrid gatherings that might be counterintuitive? JA: I’ve learned that remote folks actually still want to participate, even though they aren’t in the room. So, make it as easy as possible to let them. KR: A little training goes a long way. Too often, we assume that if we have the technology available, people will use it. However, people are sometimes afraid to try something new without real guidance. Do a quick tutorial on how to use any technology that is available during the gathering, so it doesn’t just gather metaphorical dust. Lower the barrier to usage by empowering them to test it out. For example, if you have set up kiosks where in-person attendees can connect with virtual attendees, explain how to use them at the beginning of the meeting, perhaps showing them live how it works. M+E: How can meeting planners learn to love hybrid meetings? JA: Well, from our data, hybrid meetings appear to be just as good as face-to-face and virtual, when done right. It is the most inclusive type of meeting. But, to make it so, it takes extra work. However, a good meeting inspires people. A bad meeting causes a minimum of three follow-up meetings. I think the extra effort is worth it. KR: Flexibility is the key when it comes to the future of work. If you truly believe in hybrid work, hybrid meetings are the essential communication pathway that allows people to work from wherever, whenever. Hybrid gatherings break down geographic boundaries and allow you to cast a much wider net for participants and attendees, leading to a richer exchange of ideas. Who doesn’t love that?

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DE ST I NAT ION Greater Ontario

Business First

Greater Ontario might just be a meeting planner’s dream: accessible, affordable, and distraction-free. BY SHELLEY LEVITT

» PART OF A REGION known as the Inland Empire, Greater Ontario consists of two cities—Ontario and Rancho Cucamonga—and is about 35 miles east of downtown Los Angeles. Services abound here. Onta rio Internationa l A irpor t , which is a gateway for 12 major airlines, makes flying in from most American cities a cinch. Just 2 miles from the airport, the Ontario Convention Center offers 225,000 square feet of column-free exhibit, meeting, and function space. There are over 6,200 hotel rooms in Greater Ontario, and 2,500 are within walking distance of the convention center. But while the region boasts the rugged San Gabriel Mountains as a stunning backdrop and 300 days of sunshine a year, Greater Ontario isn’t going to draw

incentive groups in search of a bucket-list destination. “Our sweet spot is middlemanagement, middle-tier types of meetings,” says Michael Krouse, president and CEO of the Greater Ontario Convention & Visitors Bureau. “We do a lot of training and education meetings and a surprising number of high-tech, but it’s not Microsoft or Apple or other major corporations that are household names.” As Krouse sees it, Greater Ontario’s lack of glamour and sizzling nightlife is a selling point when it comes to meetings focused on outcomes. “We’re not a leisure destination, but we’re a perfect meetings locale,” he says. “We don’t have the distractions of, say, Las Vegas. So, if you want to accomplish the goals of a meeting, this is where you come. And we’re outdoorsy,

so you can still enjoy lunch on one of our patios outside the convention center while you’re getting business done.” FLEXIBILITY AND AFFORDABILITY Clay Mitchell, state executive director of SkillsUSA California, a nonprofit organization that prepares students for careers in trade and technical services, planned the organization’s 55th Annual SkillsUSA California Leadership and Skills Conference. Held April 21-24, 2022, the nonprofit’s first annual conference since 2019 drew 2,500 attendees. Yes, there was a DJ, food trucks, and opening and closing ceremonies, but mostly, there were logistics, and the Ontario Convention Center handled these deftly.

P H O T O S : C I T Y O F O N TA R I O ; ( O P P O S I T E ) V I C T O R I A G A R D E N S ; T OYO TA A R E N A / W I L L I A M VA S TA

An aerial view of sprawling Greater Ontario

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P H O T O S : C I T Y O F O N TA R I O ; ( O P P O S I T E ) V I C T O R I A G A R D E N S ; T OYO TA A R E N A / W I L L I A M VA S TA

“We’re not a typical conference where you mostly sit at tables and chat,” Mitchell says. “ We had over 65 competitive events that were things like welding, robotics, electric wiring, carpentry construction, and commercial baking, and these ran from 7 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. The convention center is very f lexible, and [the team] was able to set things up and turn things over quickly so we could use the space for our needs. The community was also very supportive. San Bernardino Valley College, for example, hosted our automotive body refinishing and collision car repair competitions.” Mitchell says the company plans to keep the conference in Greater Ontario for at least the next few years. Besides its inland location, the Ontario Convention Center is a nonunion facility, and that goes a long way in lowering expenses for cost-conscious organizations and companies. “We’re able to use the dock and load things in and out of the facility ourselves,” Mitchell says. “That makes a huge difference in affordability.” PLACES TO GATHER Hockey, soccer, football, and basketball are all played at the 225,000-square-foot Toyota Arena. With a capacity of 11,000 guests and home to 36 luxury guest suites, the arena can accommodate private events ranging from a corporate luncheon to a full-arena gathering. Meeting planners might also want to consider the Victoria Gardens Cultural Center. It is home to the 560-seat Lewis Family Playhouse; Celebration Ha l l, which ha s 4 , 500 squa re feet of meeting and banquet space; and a spacious outdoor courtyard.

the racks at Coach, Michael Kors, and Uniqlo, there are nearly three dozen spots to stop for a quick bite. For a less frenzied shopping experience, the outdoor Victoria Gardens offers, says Krouse, “a kind of old-fashioned Main Street vibe.” Visitors can catch a ride on the outdoor mall’s trolleys, take a photo in front of the Cinderella Carriage, and watch little ones on the Choo-Choo Monga train. TAKE A HIKE Before heading to the airport or hitting the freeway, lace up your hiking boots and explore the North Etiwanda Preserve

in the foothills above Rancho Cucamonga. The primary out-and-back trail is 3.3 miles and offers views of the remnants of early pioneer settlements, along with native wildlife and plants. Better yet, suggests Krouse, linger a while. “I was born and raised here,” he says. “So I want meeting planners to know that this area is literally in the heart of Southern California. … Add a few days at the end of a meeting, stay in Greater Ontario, and go skiing, hit the beach, visit Palm Springs, or drive to Disneyland—all within an hour.” gocvb.org

Victoria Gardens mall

Toyota Arena

DO SOME SHOPPING Greater Onta rio is home to Onta rio Mills, California’s largest outlet shopping mall, with more than 200 stores. If you work up an appetite flipping through

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DIVE In! L

ike a stiff cocktail alongside a double espresso, being on or near the water is both relaxing and revitalizing. In California, the options for waterfront

meetings are as diverse as the state

By Janet Fullwood

offers a different way to experience the restorative power of gathering on the ocean, bay, or lake.

Argonaut Hotel » San Francisco

The Argonaut Hotel at Fisherman’s Wharf is surrounded by maritime history with views of the Golden Gate Bridge. A former Kimpton property that’s now under the Noble House flag, the 252room boutique hotel is housed within a 1907 cannery that radiates vintage architectural charm. The hotel is part of San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park. The national historical park’s visitor center is inside the hotel, although it is currently closed due to COVID-19 restrictions.

P H OTO S : D E S C A N S O B E AC H C LU B ; A R G O N AU T H OT E L

Make a splash with waterfront meetings.

itself. Each of these seven venues

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P H OTO S : D E S C A N S O B E AC H C LU B ; A R G O N AU T H OT E L

Across the street are the Maritime Museum in the 1939 Aquatic Park Bathhouse Building and Hyde Street Pier. The latter showcases a fleet of historic vessels, including the 1886 square-rigger Balclutha. Right next door to the Argonaut, the Blue Mermaid restaurant serves up some of the best clam chowder and cioppino in town. “Just being on the waterfront means that Pier 38, Ghirardelli Square, the cable-car turnaround—all of those iconic San Francisco sites are right there,” says Amy Cacho, regional director of sales and marketing for Noble House, Northern California. “There’s no need to shuttle people around to get a good San Francisco experience.” Nearby team-building experiences include custom-tailored classes at the Cartoon Art Museum, a “fondue fun” or pizza-making workshop at the Cheese School of San Francisco, and private tours of historic ships. Besides the Argonaut’s eight indoor meeting spaces, including a ballroom that can accommodate up to 380 guests, a large courtyard area at the Blue Mermaid is also event-friendly. The hotel has hosted a wide range of organizations and groups, including tech companies, nonprofits, firms with product launches, and institutions hosting educational seminars.

Descanso Beach Club » Santa Catalina Island

You can’t get to Santa Catalina Island, which is off the Southern California coast, without getting out on or over the water (in a plane or helicopter). Most visitors travel to the largest of the Channel Islands via a ferry ride from San Pedro, Long Beach, Dana Point, or Newport Beach.

There are many places to meet on this hilly 22-by-8-mile island with a permanent population of about 4,100 (most of whom live in the town of Avalon). Touring the historic sites, like the 1929 Catalina Casino, is a must-do. But sooner or later, almost every visitor to the island, including meeting attendees, spends a few hours at Descanso Beach Club. “It’s exactly what you think of when you imagine a beach vacation—cabanas, beach lounge chair rentals, restaurants, outdoor seating, big grassy areas,” says Corey Schuchardt, marketing and social med ia coord i nator for t he Cat a l i na Island Co. “It’s a private beach and one of the only places that allows alcohol, so you can sip your drink with your toes in the sand. Plus, there are three wonderful hotels—Hotel Atwater, Pavilion Hotel, and Mt Ada—welcoming corporate meeting groups within a 10-minute walk.” Catherine’s Terrace, the beach club’s oceanfront restaurant, boasts a cozy indoor space with a fireplace and window wall that looks out onto a spacious canopied balcony with beautiful views of

Left to right: The Descanso Beach Club on Santa Catalina Island has beach lounge chair rentals and 1,900 square feet of meeting space; plush, cozy seating surrounds the fireplace at the Argonaut Hotel.

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Top to bottom: The Spanish Revival/Mediterranean architecture of the Mar Monte Hotel is proudly on display; warm wood tones and a crystal chandelier make a statement in Hotel del Coronado’s lobby.

Hotel del Coronado » Coronado

If there is one resort hotel that epitomizes Southern California, it is the 902-room Hotel del Coronado, San Diego’s legendary beach hotel that’s just off San Diego Bay. The Del, as the red-roofed Victorian property that dates to 1888 is known, sits on 28 oceanfront acres and offers every imaginable amenity. Now pa r t of t he C u r io Col lec t ion by Hilton, The Del is currently in the last stages of a four-year, $400 million master-plan redevelopment that should be completed by the end of the year. “The ma keover has included culinar y concepts, guest rooms, enhanced and new meeting spaces, a brand-new entry experience with refurbished lobby and front porch, and more,” says hotel spokesperson Dorie Pagnano. With 96,000 square feet of event space, gatherings here can be large. Pagnano points to a hea lth care company that recently held an event for nearly 600 people; the all-day affair included curated cocktails, beach games, and a beachside grill. When a technology company hosted

a meeting for 500, its activities included guided bike tours, yoga, boot camp, and spin classes on the beach, plus a beach cleanup that yielded 113 pounds of trash. The hotel’s new Southpointe Event Center, which is set to open in fall 2022, will feature a 15,000-square-foot, clearspan ballroom, 10,000 square feet of pre-function and breakout space, and the 14,040-square-foot Southpointe Lawn.

Mar Monte Hotel » Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara is known for its sandy beaches, seaside promenades, and Mediterranean/Spanish Revival architecture featuring red roofs, white walls, and arched porticos. One beloved landmark that captures all these elements is the beachfront Mar Monte Hotel, a 200-room property that originally opened in 1931 as Vista Mar Monte. Now, after a multimillion-dollar reimagination and operating under the Unbound Collection by Hyatt, the property has boosted its reputation as the selfdescribed “Gateway to the American Riviera.” The recently opened Costa Kitchen & Bar features a seafood-driven, Mediterranean-inf luenced menu, while 10,000 square feet of meeting and event space offers full oceanfront views of the Pacific for up to 220 guests. Tori McLaughlin, director of sales and marketing, says that business is booming. “We’re seeing a lot of groups coming here to reconnect after two years apart and as team members have changed,” she says. Mar Monte is offering a menu of activities designed to strengthen team bonds—healing sound baths, yoga on the beach, and beach Olympics—and working with the Santa Barbara Sailing Center on experiences that include corporate sailing regattas. Designed as a “miniature America’s Cup,” the regatta is a three-hour experience where teams board their designated yacht and, with direction from a certified captain, rotate through the different aspects of handling the vessel, then race rival teams in three 40-minute races. It’s the kind of exhilarating experience you can only have on the water.

Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego » La Jolla

The blue Pacific Ocean and salty breezes are as much a draw as the world-class art collection at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego’s newly expanded campus in La Jolla (there is also a campus in downtown San Diego). Following a four-year renovation, the coastal landmark has quadrupled its gallery space and is showcasing an art park/sculpture garden geared toward enhancing the museum’s connection to the coast. There’s also a new venue rental program, a new

P H OTO S : M A R M O N T E H OT E L ; H OT E L D E L CO R O N A D O

Avalon Bay. The large outside area, which includes a gazebo, is perfect for a cocktail party or event reception, Schuchardt says. The space is 1,900 square feet, which can be split in half with an air wall. A ballroom, with a capacity of 200, is situated on the second floor, allowing for still more spectacular views. “We have welcomed all types of meetings, events, and companies to Santa Catalina Island,” Schuchardt says. “Some opt for a group lunch or beach party, and some stay for a few nights and have a combination of meetings, activities, and themed meals. Just about every type of industry has gathered here—medical, legal, manufacturing, technology, food/beverage, hospitality, and more.”

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P H OTO S : M A R M O N T E H OT E L ; H OT E L D E L CO R O N A D O


catering partner, and a 120-seat, indooroutdoor restaurant run by locally owned Urban Kitchen Group. On the meetings and events front, seven venues, most with floor-to-ceiling windows framing the San Diego coastline, accommodate anywhere from 60 people seated to 400 standing. “It has been so exciting to see all the different types of clients and events that are choosing to celebrate in our spaces,” says April Erin Farrell, director of rentals and retail at the museum. Events have included weddings, an after-party hosted by a high-end fashion brand, corporate dinners, and fundraisers for the arts.

“All but one of our event spaces,” Farrell notes, “are positioned to highlight the incredible art of the Pacific Coast landscape and embody our motto of ‘Art With a View.’”

Sacramento State Aquatic Center » Gold River

Located on beautiful Lake Natoma in Gold River, the Sacramento State Aquatic Center is a National Boating Instruction Safety Center that offers classes, facility reservations, team building, and equipment rentals. It’s a good place for learning water sports or for training. One of the leading rowing facilities in North America, the center has hosted many Olympic preparation camps and other high-profile events, both national and international. While it’s managed by Associated Students Inc., a student-led organization at California State University, Sacramento, the center is open to the public. “Because of how smooth and stable the water is, it’s a top destination for regattas,” says Leena Riggs, director of

P H OTO S : R E X G E L E R T P H OTO G R A P H Y; (OPPOSITE) BORIS RAJESKI; MAHA BAZZARI

The lush gardens of The Stanford Inn by the Sea

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P H OTO S : R E X G E L E R T P H OTO G R A P H Y; (OPPOSITE) BORIS RAJESKI; MAHA BAZZARI

The Sacramento State Aquatic Center offers rowing classes on shells; the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego in La Jolla

marketing and partnerships for Visit Rancho Cordova. The center is also popular with groups for sailing, kayaking, paddleboarding, canoeing (lessons and rentals available), swimming, and hanging out on sandy beaches. Four upstairs meeting rooms in the main building can accommodate 25 people each, or be combined, along with an outdoor deck, for a capacity of 110. If you have attendees who like to dive into a challenge, the center hosts three-hour Water Enrichment team-building activities for corporate groups of 10 to 200 (Sam’s Club employees recently participated and loved it, Riggs says). Activities include canoe tug-of-war, sailboat transfer challenges, kayak relays, and team raft building. For out-of-towners, plenty of lodging is available in nearby Rancho Cordova, including the Sacramento Marriott Rancho Cordova, Fairfield Inn & Suites, Hyatt Place Sacramento/Rancho Cordova, and DoubleTree Suites Sacramento/Rancho Cordova.

The Stanford Inn by the Sea » Mendocino

You don’t come to this semi-remote, 41-room vegan resort that sits on a beautifully landscaped hillside overlooking the rugged Mendocino coast for just one day. Located 150 miles north of San Francisco, The Stanford Inn by the Sea, which was founded in 1980, attracts companies that include Eddie Bauer, Börn Shoes, Gilead Sciences, and Partners for Growth for multiday creative retreats. One meeting room offers space for 20, while another can accommodate groups up to 40. Sid Garza-Hillman, the inn’s wellness program director, certified nutritionist, and events director, says that when some attendees arrive, “they think that a wellness retreat is some kind of hippie thing, but then they have life-changing experiences.”

Those experiences might take place during the mushroom foraging activities, yoga classes, or cooking workshops that Garza-Hillman coordinates. He also hosts a “biointensive” gardening class that focuses on maximizing calories that can be obtained from what you can grow on a minimal amount of land. Inspiration might also strike while enjoying the Big River tidal estuary on a Catch a Canoe & Bicycles Too! outrigger canoe. Handcrafted from repurposed redwood barns and available only in Mendocino, the boats are narrow, stable, and efficient with an intuitive footcontrolled rudder for easy steering. Other water activities include kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, and guided tours aboard the nine-person Solar Wind Tribrid.

argonauthotel.com hoteldel.com marmontehotel.com mcasd.org/page/rentals sacstateaquaticcenter.com stanfordinn.com visitcatalinaisland.com/ things-to-do/descanso-beach-club

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I ND U STRY U PDATE Infographic

FINDINGS AT A G L A N C E

THE YEAR OF THE ‘NEW’ TRAVELER

T

he American Hotel & Lodging Association has released the 2022 State of the Hotel Industry Report produced in collaboration with Accenture. The report is based on the Travel Readiness Index, the Global Consumer Pulse Research Survey, and the Annual Holiday Shopping Survey. Accenture conducted the two surveys in August 2021, and, with the index, the company tracks various parameters since February 2020 and compares data to pre-COVID-19 levels in 2019. There were other sources informing the report, including data from Cvent and the World Travel & Tourism Council.

Only 58% of meetings and events are expected to return.

Technology will be even more critical in a property’s success.

I L L U S T R AT I O N S : A D O B E / H V O S T I K 1 6 ; ( I C O N S ) A D O B E / B OY KO . P I C T U R E S ; ( B A C KG R O U N D ) A D O B E / A R U N R O M K A E W

Occupancy rates and room revenue are projected to approach 2019 levels in 2022.

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I L L U S T R AT I O N S : A D O B E / H V O S T I K 1 6 ; ( I C O N S ) A D O B E / B OY KO . P I C T U R E S ; ( B A C KG R O U N D ) A D O B E / A R U N R O M K A E W

T E C H N O L O GY T R E N D S TO WAT C H Technology is playing an increasingly important role in making it possible for the hotel industry to respond to travelers’ changing needs and preferences.

Keeping it human with technology

Remapping the guest and staff journeys

Shifting in-house technology solutions

Expanding the use of agile PMS

The personalization of technology will take another leap forward, with hotels using digital technologies to ease workloads and further satisfy each individual guest with a new visitor experience.

Mobile, self-service devices are allowing guests to navigate much of the traditional traveling journey— from booking to checkout— without having to interact directly with staff.

More hotels will move from in-house technology tools to “off-the-shelf” offerings from industry vendors.

Hotel operators will increasingly turn to property management systems (PMS) with a network of integrated partners offering expanded capabilities.

O C C U PA N CY A N D R E V E N U E Hotel occupancy is expected to continue trending upward from the historic lows of 2020, averaging 63.4% for the year, or 1.3 billion room nights.

Room revenues are projected to reach $168 billion.

168b

$

The report predicts a 228% leap in spending in the United States by international travelers compared to 2021.

72 86.9 1

72% of surveyed meeting planners are sourcing events with an in-person component.

%

/4

want to provide great service, but with labor

228

One quarter of meetings being sourced are hybrid.

Our venues

%

markets tight, it

%

works out well that meetings are coming back at a manageable pace.

The report projects that only 58.3% of meetings and events will return in 2022, with 86.9% back in 2023.

— KIM CORCOR AN , CMP E XECUTIVE DIRECTOR, DESTINATION MICHIGAN/ MEE TINGS MICHIGAN

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I N D USTRY U P DAT E Regional News

The Kissel Uptown Oakland’s High 5ive rooftop bar and terrace

A NEW MEETINGS-READY HOTEL IN UPTOWN OAKLAND The striking Kissel Uptown Oakland, which opened in February 2022, spans an entire block in the city’s vibrant arts and entertainment district. Named for the Pacific Kissel Kar-Dean Lippi Showroom, an auto dealership, which formerly occupied the site, the hotel offers 168 guest rooms and suites and over 10,000 square feet of meeting and event space. The event space includes High 5ive, a 3,800-square-foot rooftop bar and terrace; the 1,500-square-foot Showroom, which boasts historic f loor-to-ceiling arched windows; the 3,100-square-foot Gold Bug ballroom; the Kissel Boardroom; the Presidential Suite; and 2,150 square feet of prefunction space that overlook the lobby. In addition to High 5ive, restaurants include Otto’s lobby cafe and bar and the signature French-Mediterranean Occitania. kisseloakland.com

It doesn’t get much more hip than the new Hotel Ziggy. Located in the heart of West Hollywood’s Sunset Strip, the 108-room hotel offers what a press release describes as a “modern, counterculture spin.” That rock ’n’ roll vibe includes a bar lined with hundreds of vinyl albums, a record player behind the front desk that plays music spanning every genre, a retractable glass garage door that opens into a music venue called Backbeat, layers of decoupaged walls and ceilings that celebrate musicians past and present, and a memorabilia collection that includes framed legal documents highlighting decades of lawsuits between musicians and record labels. Guests can enjoy the largest saltwater pool in West Hollywood and have access to a Shred Shed that includes electric and acoustic guitars, amps, records, record players, and old-school Sony Walkmans. All the equipment can be borrowed in what the hotel calls the “free the music movement.” To spur creativity, three venues are available for small groups: The Media Room and Boardroom can each accommodate groups up to 10, while the semiprivate fourth-floor lounge has a capacity of 30 for receptions. Catering is available from the on-site B-Side Pizza restaurant. hotelziggy.com

P H OTO S : J U L I E S O E F E R ; H OT E L Z I G GY; (O P P O S I T E ) L E M É R I D I E N H OT E L S ; P E C H A N G A R E S O R T C AS I N O ; B I R C H AQ UA R I U M

Hotel Ziggy Offers New Spin on Small Meetings

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P H OTO S : J U L I E S O E F E R ; H OT E L Z I G GY; (O P P O S I T E ) L E M É R I D I E N H OT E L S ; P E C H A N G A R E S O R T C AS I N O ; B I R C H AQ UA R I U M

More Diamonds for Pechanga

Le Méridien Pasadena Arcadia Hotel’s Mélange chophouse

Pasadena’s Elegant, Eclectic New Hotel

Midcentury design is almost as beloved in Southern California as sunshine and tacos. Now, with the opening of Le Méridien Pasadena Arcadia Hotel in June 2021, there’s a chic property that combines the modern design aesthetic with the Méridien brand’s European heritage. There are programs that offer both high tea and highball cocktails; a grand bar, Longitude 118; poolside eats at the outdoor heated pool; and Mélange, a traditional chophouse infused with Asian flavors. Located across the street from Santa Anita Park (guests can enjoy behind-the-scenes tours of the historic racetrack simply by presenting their Unlock Art room key), the 234-room property has 14,000 square feet of meeting and event space spanning five separate rooms—three are private dining rooms—as well as over 1,800 square feet of indoor pre-function space and an expansive event lawn. marriott.com/laxme

Pechanga Resort Casino claimed two new AAA Four Diamond Awards for 2022. This is the 21st consecutive year the 1,100room resort and casino has been awarded this honor and the 11th year for the resort’s signature restaurant, Great Oak Steakhouse. Only 14 other resorts in Riverside County hold AAA Four Diamond status. The resort’s Great Oak Steakhouse is the only restaurant in Temecula to receive the AAA Four Diamond rating, sharing this distinction with one other restaurant in the Inland Empire and five others in all of Riverside County. “The AAA Four Diamond awards tell us that guests appreciate the commitment to quality and excellence we exhibit at Pechanga,” says Tjeerd Brink, general manager of Pechanga Resort Casino. “Accolades like these promise our guests a positive experience every time they visit—including our dining experiences, top-class rooms and suites, and impeccable service.” pechanga.com

BLUE PENGUINS ARRIVE AT BIRCH AQUARIUM Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California San Diego, has long been an extraordinary venue for events. Guests—up to 1,500 can be accommodated—are able to explore ocean habitats and dive into the cutting-edge research being conducted to protect our planet while enjoying spectacular ocean views and first-rate catering. Now there’s another reason to consider the venue for an upcoming gathering: In the biggest addition to Birch Aquarium in 30 years, the Beyster Family Little Blue Penguins exhibit opened on July 12, 2022. The 2,900-square-foot addition will follow little blue penguins—beginning with 15—on their journey from hatchlings to adults. The space accommodates up to 100 guests for an intimate reception. aquarium.ucsd.edu

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P EOPLE PROFI L E Cody Barrera

T

he 22-acre Music Center is the cultural anchor of Los Angeles and one of the largest performing arts centers in the world. As director of sales for Hope & Grand Events, the Music Center’s on-site catering arm, Cody Barrera oversees all catered events on campus—from intimate luncheons to galas for thousands.

R t e f a b t

M+E: Early in your career, you were a VIP tour guide at Disneyland. How did that role prepare you for your current position? The motto at Disneyland is ‘exceed guests’ expectations and create lasting memories,’ and we have the same goal at Hope & Grand. No matter what kind of event we’re planning, whether it’s a trade show, a convention, or a milestone celebration, we want it to be a memorable, one-of-a-kind experience.

hopeandgrandevents.com

Standing Ovations

Cody Barrera orchestrates events at LA’s celebrated Music Center. BY SHELLEY LEVITT

M+E: A corporate client comes to you and says they want to do an event marking an important achievement. The sky is the limit. What do you suggest? The word ‘grand’ in our name is not taken lightly. We like to go over the top. I would suggest starting in the Blue Ribbon Garden over at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, which, of course, was designed by architect Frank Gehry. I’m thinking live music, interactive photo booths, and one-of-a-kind traypassed and -displayed hors d’oeuvres. And then eventually, we gather the guests and take them to a place that is so iconic—the Walt Disney Concert Hall stage—where we would serve a beautiful, lavish dinner. We would have members of the Los Angeles Philharmonic—for whom that stage is their performing home—put on a mini concert for our guests while they’re sitting there and dining onstage. That’s an event I would really like to create for the right client. If they’re around, let me know.

P H OTO : E R I C A M A E A L L E N

M+E: Describe a typical day in your role. One of the reasons I love this job so much is that there is no typical day. That said, on most days I’ll tour clients around the Music Center campus. We have more than a dozen different venues, and you can’t really see on paper all that we have to offer. A key part of what I do is help clients find the venue that’s right for their needs, whether they’re planning a board meeting with a continental breakfast for 15 executives or a dinner for several hundred. On a larger scale, we’ve held the Very Special Arts Festival, which celebrates the artistic achievements of students of all abilities, on the Jerry Moss Plaza, with well over 1,000 guests in attendance.

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CALIFORNIA MEETINGS + EVENTS // FALL 2018

Regional stories on the top meeting and event venues, advice from professionals, and reports on food, beverage, décor, technology and more!

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WHATEVER THE EVENT,

EXTRAORDINARY.

PÍVAT, CONFERENCE ROOM

BALLROOM

THE SHOW

PLAN YOUR NEXT MEETING, CONFERENCE OR SPECIAL EVENT WITH US. Agua Caliente Casino Rancho Mirage is ready to host your next event and has a diverse range of venues to meet your every need. We feature: 13,000 sq. ft. Conference Center • The Show Concert Theatre Outdoor Event Lawn • The Steakhouse • Pívat Cigar Lounge • 360 Sports • Sunset Suite

Looking for more? Available meetings and event space at our other properties:

AGUA CALIENTE CASINOS PALM SPRINGS

CATHEDRAL CITY

SCAN THE QR CODE FOR DETAILS.

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6/30/22 1:25 PM