Conventions and professional meetings have long been a mainstay of the hospitality business throughout much of California. While that revenue source was severely curtailed during the pandemic, it has begun to return in recent months. Visit California is supporting this recovery with a series of initiatives, including new brand advertising, in-market road shows, and trade shows designed to highlight the state as the nation’s No. 1 tourism destination and drive more meetings and events business to the state.
These initiatives are designed to align with the changing needs of meeting planners in the post-pandemic era. As the meeting and events industry recovers, planners have adapted and further defined their priorities when considering a destination. Key decision-making factors include health and safety protocols and finding locations for their events that are both desirable and technologically savvy. This addresses the demands of meeting attendees who are more thoughtful about travel and want the opportunity for unique experiences at destinations that cater to health and wellness and are welcoming to all.
The “Meet What’s Possible” platform and “The Birthplace” campaign were designed by Visit California to support those changed priorities and send a welcoming message to meeting planners and their groups that California is open for business. The campaigns reinforce California’s identity as a world-class meetings destination with unique and exciting host destinations and meeting experiences.
“The Birthplace” campaign positions California as the birthplace of innovation, sustainability, inclusivity. The campaign targets planners through placement in highly reputable and trusted print and digital publications to drive awareness of the limitless opportunities in California while also offering planners insights into the unique, meeting-focused attributes of the state’s many destinations:
- The groundbreaking tech achievements in Silicon Valley and San Francisco as well as Southern California, including the booming biotech and life science industry in San Diego. We also highlight the growing demand for high tech-conferences in Palm Springs, Long Beach, and Los Angeles. These examples demonstrate how California’s forward-thinking culture creates a magnet for innovation and technology.
- Eco-friendly practices and sustainable initiatives are the new norm for meetings and events in cities such as Santa Barbara, Monterey, Palm Springs, and Lake Tahoe. These cities are supporting their meeting planners in these green meeting initiatives.
- Diversity, equity, and inclusivity are top priorities, and Oakland, Sacramento, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Greater Palm Springs, and San Diego are among the cities showcasing these values. Being located in one of the most diverse states in the U.S., cities throughout California have implemented initiatives and programs to ensure all feel welcome in their cities and at their group events.
- California’s crowd-pleasing climate and outdoor lifestyles create exceptional and memorable events for attendees. Venues in cities all throughout the state, including Napa, Anaheim, Santa Monica, and Huntington Beach, offer rooftop event venues and other outdoor experiences that will wow visitors.
The “Taste of California” road shows provide a platform for California cities to join efforts and present a unified message: California is open for business and ready to welcome all meetings. Under the Visit California brand, these in-market events allow California destination representatives to meet clients in cities throughout the U.S. Typically, these are evenings of bites, entertainment, education and heavy networking. Our California partners have found great success on these road shows in connecting with clients in an array of major cities in the east, midwest, and south, including Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, New York, Dallas, Austin, Minneapolis, and Chicago. We’re also working on adding to other metro areas—Denver and Seattle.
Trade shows also are back and booming, with Visit California a strong presence. To support California destinations and build in-person awareness of California as a top-tier meetings destination, Visit California has developed partnerships with industry influencers IMEX, Professional Convention Management Association, Northstar Meetings Group, Cvent, Meeting Professionals International, Prestige Global Meeting Source, American Society of Association Executives and many more. These relationships provide California partners the opportunity to meet with a diverse collection of meeting planners, whether in a one-on-one meeting, through a networking event, or on the trade show floor.
When meeting planners “Meet What’s Possible” in California, they find endless opportunities and a diversity of products and experiences. This Visit California initiative will continue to support all California destinations in their efforts to keep the state top of mind for meetings and events. By arranging connections with industry professionals across the U.S. through marketing, road shows, and trade shows, Visit California amplifies the messaging and attributes of the nation’s top destination and assists its California meetings and events partners in their business recovery and expansion.