CAM+E: What’s a typical working day like for you?
MM: There’s never a dull moment. The wonderful thing about my position is it’s so varied. Some days are customer-centric, where I’m engaged with my clients on FAMs, site inspections, trade shows and assorted industry events. Then there’s the sales leader part—productivity reports, bookings, leads, all the things that drive our business. There are the administrative elements, and there’s the community-facing part of my job, which means participating in community events, serving on client advisory boards and on our conference center advisory board.

CAM+E: What do you want planners to know about Monterey?
MM: Our tagline in the meetings space is “Inspired Moments in Meetings.” We’re not your ordinary destination. You can have meetings that are transformative here.

You don’t have to conform to the standard ballroom. You can be in a vineyard or on a boat, you can take a hike along the coast or in the redwood forests. You can hang out with bees or with otters. You can make your own wine or pick vegetables from the fields. There are so many ways to inspire your team, your company, your colleagues!

We have 12,000 hotel rooms in the county and 4,000 of those are part of the group room inventory. These range from a 550-room hotel with commensurate meeting space to a 90-room inn in a vineyard. We have 800 rooms in downtown Monterey alone, adjacent to or in walking distance of the Monterey Conference Center that recently completed a $60 million renovation.

CAM+E: What are the challenges Monterey faces as a meetings destination?
MM: The biggest thing is awareness of all that Monterey encompasses. People have heard about Monterey, but they’re not exactly sure where it is. They may not know that the beach is a part of Monterey or that Big Sur is a part of the county.

And while Pebble Beach and Carmel are places of renown, they’re not always linked to Monterey. People are often surprised to hear that we have an airport. Well, we do, and it has direct connections to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Dallas, Denver and Phoenix.

CAM+E: What’s on the calendar for Monterey in 2020?
MM: The first thing is that Monterey is turning 250! We’re going to have a year-long celebration to commemorate the founding of Monterey in June 1770, with the biggest events taking place over the summer. 

League City CVB manager Stephanie Polk shares her career journey.

Originally from Kentwood, Louisiana, Stephanie Polk, TDM, CTE, first made her mark on the travel and tourism industry as director of marketing for the Beaumont Convention & Visitors Bureau. There, she helped to elevate the city as a destination for recreation travelers and business groups. Wowed by her accomplishments, in 2020, League City brought her on board to lead its marketing efforts. She shares with us highlights and advice from her experience in the industry. 

 

Event planning and experience design go hand in hand. Just ask Maria Moyano, experience designer for the Museum of Ice Cream (MOIC), based in NYC. “I think that everything is an event. You can go have coffee, and that’s an event. Everything is also an experience. You feel happy, and that’s an experience. It’s about what you are trying to get out of the event—and then how does an experience elevate it,” says Moyano.

 

In the midst of the pandemic last year, Loris Menfi joined San Antonio Marriott Rivercenter and Riverwalk as general manager. At the time of her hire, Rivercenter had recently unveiled a renovation to its 70,000-plus square feet of meeting space.