I recently had the opportunity to interview Mark McMinn, VP of Sales at the Monterey County Convention and Visitors Bureau. Monterey County is one of the top destinations for meetings and events, and there are so many amazing choices, from locations to venues. Mark has provided us an update on the most recent happenings.
First, can you tell us a little about your role at the CVB and how long you have been with them?
I joined the Monterey County Convention and Visitors Bureau in October of 2016 as Vice President of Sales, leading our dynamic sales team. Being of service and contributing to the community’s economic growth through tourism and driving group business is what I am truly passionate about, and I get to do this in an incredibly beautiful and inspiring place.
Can you share with us an update on what new developments are happening in Monterey?
We kicked off the new year celebrating the grand reopening of the newly renovated Monterey Conference Center (MCC). The Monterey Conference Center is a modern, LEED-certified meeting facility withmore than 40,000 square feet of flexible meeting space and a capacity of 3,200 people. The facility is adjacent to the newly renovated Portola Hotel & Spa and Monterey Marriott. Altogether, these properties will offer 85,000 square feet of flexible meeting space, 19,150 square feet of exhibition space and 700 hotel rooms. We expect this new facility to become a regional hub of innovation that will help drive new thinking and ideas in what is already one of the most inspirational destinations in the world.
We have also seen a number of properties undergoing renovations and updates as well as the introduction of a new property in Pebble Beach this past year.
- Pebble Beach Resorts introduced the new Fairway One at The Lodge in August 2017. Located along the first fairway of Pebble Beach Golf Links, Fairway One is a distinctive addition to The Lodge. Fairway One includes 30 oversized guest rooms in three two-story buildings, two four-bedroom golf cottages each with a 1,000 square foot living room. A 2,500 square foot main meeting room with floor-to-ceiling views of the first fairway is part of the new meeting facility. Pebble Beach Resorts has also invested in a major, three-year renovation of all 454 guest rooms at The Lodge, The Inn at Spanish Bay and Casa Palmero. The project will be completed in early 2019 for Pebble Beach’s centennial celebrations and the 2019 U.S. Open.
- Perched high above overlooking the Pacific coastline, Ventana Big Sur had undergone a multi-million dollar reimagination to coincide with its October 2017 reopening. The intimate 59 room resort introduced distinctive experiences that invite guests to discover, inspire and create. The opening of Ventana Big Sur also marks the North American debut of Alila Hotels & Resorts. Enhancements to the property included a refresh of the guest rooms, suites and villas, the new Glass House Gallery to showcase works of art, a new luxury glamping experience offering 15 safari-style, canvas tents spanning a 20-acre canyon and the new awe-inspiring Ocean Meadow Lawn for events and celebrations.
- The Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa on Cannery Row is in its final phase of a $5 million renovation of the property’s guest rooms. The hotel recently completed an upgrade of the outdoor patio at its restaurant Schooners Coastal Kitchen & Bar with a new fire pit, furnishings and glass railing. There is also a new exterior staircase and a newly tiled lower terrace. In 2016, the Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa unveiled a new lobby, upgraded guest service stations, the new Helmsman Lounge, a new rooftop sundeck at the Vista Blue Spa and remodeled penthouse luxury suites.
- SpringHill Suites by Marriott The Dunes on Monterey Bay debuted an all-suite hotel in Marina last June. The new four-story property includes 106 suites and up to 1,850 square feet of meeting space with state of the art audio visual equipment. There is also a lobby lounge, bar, outdoor patio with three fire pits and a fitness center.
- Nestled on 19 acres in Marina, Sanctuary Beach Resort unveiled a $4 million renovation of the restaurant and meeting space last September. The new Salt Wood Kitchen and Oysterette features fresh cuisine made from sustainable and locally sourced ingredients, inspired by Salinas Valley and its rich, agricultural bounty. The three new adjoining beachfront conference rooms provide large spaces for presentations, lectures and cocktail parties and are all equipped with 42’’ flat screen monitors, LCD projectors and surround sound systems. In addition, the 60 room oceanfront resort also made improvements and furnishing updates to the guest rooms.
- Embassy Suites by Hilton, located just two blocks from the beachfrontin Seaside, completed an exciting multi-million dollar renovation. Renovations to the hotel included its 225 suites and the 16,000 square feet of flexible meeting space as well as the atrium, restaurant and bar.
Finally, how does your support and partnership with the Northern California chapter of PCMA provides value for the Monterey CVB and its members?
We are so proud of the partnership we have had with the chapter for many years. PCMA and the Northern California Chapter provides fantastic opportunities for engaging education that is relevant to our industry, fantastic networking opportunities with fellow business meetings and events professionals, industry advocacy, professional recognition, community service and amazing business opportunities leads.
Anything else you would like to add?
Our destination is a location that is unmatched with a vast array of extraordinary places and spaces to create both life and business enriching moments. Monterey County is a unique place that has helped to ignite sparks of ideas and creativity in innovators, visionaries, writers and leaders for decades. Apple first unveiled its Macintosh computer here in Carmel-by-the-Sea; Pulitzer- and Nobel Prize-winning author John Steinbeck highlighted life in Monterey and Salinas Valley; and the first TED talk was held at the Monterey Conference Center… Just as those who have come before, our hope is that attendees walk away from our destination feeling invigorated and inspired!
Mark, thank you for taking the time to speak with me and share some important news from the Monterey County Convention and Visitors Bureau!
Karen Grayson, CMP