Sacramento seems to be one of those destinations where you think you already know a lot about it, but when you take a closer look, you realize it offers much, much more. In fact, Sacramento is one of the leading destinations in the farm to fork movement; its downtown is vibrant and walkable and there are a ton of outdoor activity options for attendees and visitors within a short drive. Recently, we sat down with Susan Babich, Director of National Accounts with Visit Sacramento to hear about what’s new in her destination and how the team at Visit Sacramento helps planners with finding just the right fit for any size meeting.
SUZZANNE: What makes Sacramento a great meeting destination?
SUSAN: The “Sacramento Convention Package” consisting of the Sacramento Convention Center, Hyatt Regency, and Sheraton Grand hotels which are literally steps away from one another. The venues are surrounded by Downtown and Midtown, where you’ll find on foot an entertainment mecca of restaurants, live music and theater, attractions, art and culture, nightclubs and bars, and unique shopping all walkable from the three venues.
What also makes Sacramento a great meeting destination is that planners are constantly awed by the mutual respect and cooperation that we have for one another throughout the selling and event process. The three venues are accustomed to working together as one cohesive team to guarantee a memorable, productive and educational experience for customers.
SUZZANNE: What is the one thing planners are always surprised to learn about the Sacramento area?
SUSAN: Sacramento can be an “unknown” for many of the national planners and it’s always rewarding when they experience it first hand and confirm the vibrancy and beauty of our downtown area. They are also amazed at how close we are to other beautiful California destinations such as San Francisco, Napa Valley, Lake Tahoe, and Yosemite and incorporate these areas into pre and post opportunities for their delegates.
SUZZANNE: What might we find you enjoying in the destination on your day off?
SUSAN: I love to share the destination with family and friends, many of which are local but again had no idea how vibrant the downtown scene has become. Last year we enjoyed a family staycation during the Christmas holidays in a downtown hotel, dined in many of the great restaurants, walked to area attractions including a wonderful midtown farmers market during the day and took advantage of the downtown ice skating rink.
SUZZANNE: What are a couple of your favorite places to dine or get a drink?
SUSAN: There is no shortage of fabulous restaurants in the downtown area but I love to take customers to Mulvaneys B&L. It is the quintessential farm to fork restaurant where the menu changes daily in accordance with the local harvest availability.
Sacramento has been identified as America’s Farm to Fork Capital as we are surrounded by 1.5 million acres of farms and ranches that grow more than 120 crops for domestic and international markets. The restaurant scene in the Sacramento region is exploding year over year with the Farm to Fork theme evidenced everywhere including great local restaurant outlets at the Sacramento International airport and the new Golden One Center sports and entertainment complex in the heart of downtown Sacramento.
SUZZANNE: What do you see trending in the meeting’s market? How is your CVB proactively addressing this trend or staying current?
SUSAN: Affordability; concerns regarding the high cost of connectivity as well as audio visual.
We are fortunate to have a cooperative working relationship with our convention center and their telecommunications and audio visual contractors to provide packages for these services that best meet the budgetary needs of the organization and their delegates.
SUZZANNE: What is an innovative service offering at the CVB?
SUSAN: We are proud of our full-service convention services team who always go above and beyond the call of duty to service customers of any size that convene in the Sacramento area. We are unique from most DMO’s in that we not only market and sell our wonderful hotel partners; we are totally responsible for selling the Sacramento Convention Center complex from start to finish. We hold space, create the proposal, negotiate the rates and hold the hands of our citywide customers from proposal through the event. When required or requested, our sales and services team are often on site throughout the event as an extension or enhancement to the existing staff of the host organization.
SUZZANNE: What’s the latest news, developments, or events in your destination you’d like to share with planners?
SUSAN: The Golden 1 Center is Sacramento’s newest star on the map. The $556 million dollar Sports and Entertainment complex is the home court for our NBA team the Sacramento Kings and is located in the heart of downtown Sacramento. It is a remarkable facility which is one hundred percent solar powered and has sparked development for blocks around the area in the form of restaurants, nightlife and new hotel build. The 250 room Kimpton “Sawyer” will open in June of 2017 with plans for other hotels to follow. The opening of this project and the surrounding area completes a vision that city leaders had to connect the core of the downtown area with the Golden 1 Center and the Sacramento Convention Center as its anchors.
SUZZANNE: What size/type of meetings fit best in your destination?
SUSAN: A citywide in Sacramento can range from 1,200 to 16,000 delegates but typically average around 2,000. Depending on day of week and time of year, there are over 1,200 committable hotel rooms in the downtown area to compliment the space at the Sacramento Convention Center with new hotels planned or currently under construction such as the 250 room Kimpton “Sawyer” opening in June of 2017.
Thank you Susan for taking the time to talk with us today sounds like a lot of great things are happening in Sacramento! To learn more about holding your next meeting in Sacramento or at 150 other top meeting destinations, visit www.empowerMINT.com.