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. 

Jeff Dougherty, association sales director for Visit Sacramento, likes to leave groups laughing.

 

Group sales head Robert Donahue is ready to guide planners to a new galaxy.

 

Steve Goodling, head of the CVB, sings the praises of his beloved SoCal waterfront city.