According to a recent survey of meeting planners by Destination Analysts, Monterey County ranks among the best destinations for safe meetings based on attributes including an abundance of facility options and room sizes, outdoor venue possibilities and accessibility by car. The recognition follows forward-thinking moves over the past year by the local hospitality community to pursue industry certifications, hybrid meeting technology and update facilities with health and safety in mind. Read below for additional details as Monterey prepares for the return of meetings.

Safe Meetings Destination

Destination Analysts conducted a survey of 500 meeting planners with the primary objective to assess meeting planners’ opinions regarding the current state of the industry, including benefits and challenges anticipated in the future. When planners were asked about safety, Monterey County was recognized as one of the “best destinations for safe meetings.”

“It’s encouraging to see that meeting planners are aware of the behind-the-scenes work that has been happening in Monterey County and view the destination as a top location for safe meetings moving forward,” said Teresa Savage, vice president of business development, Monterey County CVB. “The landscape has evolved in terms of what meetings industry professionals view as top priorities for destination bookings, and we are proud to have successfully met that shift with our partners.”

Among the steps put in motion over the past year, multiple Monterey County properties have secured the Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC) STAR Facility Accreditation, which recognizes facilities that have the work practices, procedures and protocols in place to prepare, respond to and recover from outbreaks and pandemics. Accredited facilities must meet 20 GBAC STAR Program Elements, ranging from comprehensive cleaning and disinfection protocols to infection disease prevention measures. To date, Monterey Conference Center, Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel & Spa and Carmel Valley Ranch have earned this industry gold standard.

Hyatt Board Room Presidio

Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel & Spa

Hybrid Meetings

Monterey Conference Center is set to launch a hybrid meeting service in April using the CANVAS technology platform with Immersive Design Studios – the same service used by well-known life and business strategist Tony Robbins for his immersive events attracting more than 20,000 remote participants. This is the first partnership that Immersive Design Studios is bringing to a convention center, and continues to position Monterey County on the cutting edge of meeting capabilities. Hotels are also launching innovative hybrid meeting services, including Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa, Monterey Marriott and Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel & Spa.

“Research continues to show that hybrid meetings will be with us for some time as an added safety measure,” said Doug Phillips, general manager at Monterey Conference Center. “The innovative platform technology that Immersive Design Studios can provide our planners will engage participants virtually at another level.”

The Monterey Conference Center in Monterey County

Monterey Conference Center

Renovations and Enhanced Safety

In addition to health and safety certifications, multiple hotels have undergone extensive renovations in recent months to better serve meetings and leisure guests coming out of the pandemic. Located amid 22 secluded acres of the Del Monte Golf Course, Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel & Spa’s multi-million-dollar renovation includes redesigned lobby and guest rooms, the addition of two new shop/dining spaces, and blurs the lines between indoor and outdoor spaces. The property also launched rapid COVID-19 testing onsite and appointed a Hygiene and Wellbeing Champion to oversee health and sanitation efforts, in addition to achieving GBAC STAR accreditation.

In the heart of historic downtown Monterey and connected to the Monterey Conference Center, two properties – Monterey Marriott and Portola Hotel & Spa – recently completed multi-million-dollar guest room renovations. Additionally, the Marriott implemented expert and government approved protocols as part of Marriott International’s global Commitment to Clean program. The Portola instituted a Health and Sanitation Program following recommended guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OHSA), California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and the Monterey County Department of Public Health.

Pebble Beach Resorts launched a new Health & Sanitization Program in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, implementing actions like temperature testing and health screenings of all employees at shift starts; reducing touch points for guests and staff, and frequent disinfection of unavoidable touch points; and requiring staff use of personal protective equipment (PPE) at all times. Additionally, Pebble Beach Company will open a Tiger Woods designed short course this spring including nine par-3 holes; a 20,000-square-foot putting course; and a 5,000-square-foot food and beverage venue with indoor and outdoor seating and the resort’s largest patio, overlooking the new course, Carmel Bay and Point Lobos.

Pebble Beach Golf Links

Pebble Beach Resorts

Contact the Monterey County CVB Business Development Team here to book a transformative meeting in 2021 and beyond.