Why You Should Visit Santa Monica In 2019?
Brian Wright, Director of Business Development, Santa Monica Travel & Tourism gives us reasons to visit the beautiful beachfront setting, award-winning dining, incomparable hotel collection and unique event venues
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As the Director of Business Development for Santa Monica Travel & Tourism, Brian Wright leads the sales team on strategic, tourism-related initiatives to increase visitation from key feeder markets as well as group sales.
We met up with Wright during his visit to India where he explained us why one should visit this beach city of Los Angeles. “Known for its long stretch of glistening coastline, bustling farmers markets and luxury hotel properties, many Indian travellers visit the city to enjoy the iconic Santa Monica Pier. As a premium luxury destination in Southern California, it offers experiences such as high-end shopping at Santa Monica Place with a personal shopper and fine dining at restaurants that focus on fresh, local ingredients from the four weekly farmers markets to the Beach Butler service that allows visitors to enjoy the beach in true VIP style and luxurious hotel and spa offerings found in the beachside city. Thus, Santa Monica is well positioned as a laidback luxury destination.”
Santa Monica Travel & Tourism (SMTT), a private, non-profit corporation under contract to the City of Santa Monica, promotes the destination as a conference, business and leisure travel destination. As a sales and service organization, SMTT acts as a marketing representative for local businesses and the community as a whole.
“India is an important market for us in Santa Monica. To give you an idea on the Indian arrivals into the US, according to the NTTO (National Travel & Tourism Office; US Department of Commerce), in 2017, 1.28 million Indians travelled to the US, of which, 14% were on leisure and holiday while 31% were visiting friends and relatives.
While this is the macro picture, Indian visitation to the LA County itself is expected to reach 130,000 by the end of this year which is already a 5.6% increase from last year. When we have so many Indians visiting different parts of the LA county, it is only a matter of time that these visitors know about the exemplary experiences that we at Santa Monica have to offer and come experience it themselves. Hence, all the marketing activities driven this year will be towards positioning Santa Monica to this high-end segment which seeks such understated luxury options,” he said.
“Besides this our focus will also be driven towards engaging with the travel trade catering to this segment of niche clientele and updating them about the offerings of Santa Monica.”
Speaking about the travel trends in 2019, Wright feels that FIT travel is on the rise. “Travellers now want to experience a destination, and not just visit it. More and more travellers seek to live like a local and get under the skin of a city to truly feel it by tasting the local cuisine and partaking in local cultural activities. Also, with the growth of online booking arrangements being made directly by travellers, there is a trend amongst travel trade partners to offer new destinations and experiences which cannot be bookable online to their clients. This has pushed them to learn more about destinations similar to Santa Monica to stay more relevant with the needs of their clients.”
The blend of Santa Monica’s beautiful beachfront setting, award-winning dining, incomparable hotel collection and unique event venues provides participants with a quintessential Southern California experience that is the perfect balance between meet and play.
The city has more than 100,000 sq ft of creative event space, giving meeting planners and attendees a variety of venue options, from ocean view conference rooms with breezy terraces, poolside cabanas with flat screen televisions, a historic beachfront estate, theatre complexes and art galleries, to airport hangars and the iconic Santa Monica Pier. “At SMTT we are actively working to raise awareness of our MICE offerings in a variety of markets that are important for us, including India”, he added.
Santa Monica’s vast hotel collection offers a wide variety of accommodations from luxury to budget across its 40 hotels. Whether you are looking for a Santa Monica beach hotel, a boutique hotel or an extended stay option, you can find the perfect place to stay in Santa Monica. Better yet, the hotels are all within 3.2 kms from the ocean, with most adjacent to or in walking distance of the beach.
“In 2019, we will be welcoming a new property to the city– Santa Monica Proper Hotel. The 271-luxury hotel will offer ample meeting space as well. While there aren’t any city-wide incentive programs for groups, each hotel and venue put together amazing itineraries and offers based on the individual group’s needs and requirements.”
SMTT plans to partner with meetings planners and help create the perfect Santa Monica experience. SMTT provides insider access to the heart and soul of Santa Monica for intimate groups of 10 guests to larger groups of 600+ to planners. Planners can expect to have an expert at their side to assist in curating the most memorable experiences - from luxury dine-arounds, shopping excursions, private tours, custom cooking sessions with one of our renowned chefs, to finding locations that include an airport hangar, the iconic Santa Monica Pier and more.
Santa Monica is located less than 13 kms from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) which gives the city access to the wide range of flight options that are serviced through LAX, which is one of our biggest advantages. Hence, corporate travelers can in fact arrive to LAX and begin their incentive tour in Santa Monica itself with ease.