It’s important to ask and identify other patterns and dates that might be available to offer my clients where better rates are available due to occupancy.
Audrey Van Alyea is a Manager of Global Accounts for HelmsBriscoe, joining the Southern California team in 2009. She brings to HB a background in both hospitality and human resources. She has worked for Starwood, Hilton and Marriott. DMAI and their member DMO’s have a very collaborative relationship with both HelmsBriscoe and their associates. DMOs and HB Associates can be great partners when sourcing a meeting, providing double the resources brought to the table! Here Audrey shares her experience with Visit Carlsbad and the great offerings in the destination.
TERRI:What’s the hardest/most challenging part of your job? What do you most enjoy?
AUDREY: I book programs globally so it can be challenging to stay up-to-date with the various properties and destinations throughout the world. This is also one of the most rewarding aspects of my job as I am always learning about unique destinations or new hotels to offer my clients.
TERRI: What prompted you to explore Carlsbad, CA for your client’s meeting?
AUDREY: I’ve lived in San Diego for 10 years, spending four of those years in Carlsbad. I am very familiar with the area and believe that this is a great meeting destination. Carlsbad has many great options for hotels, as well as a plethora of off-site options – local breweries, wineries, golf, spa, parks, and beaches. Also, Carlsbad has its own airport with connecting flights through Los Angeles and it is just a short distance from the San Diego airport with more flight options.
TERRI: Can you tell me about your experience planning and executing a meeting in the destination?
AUDREY: Living in the area, I am very familiar with Carlsbad. I’ve booked both small and large programs at most of the hotels in the city.
TERRI: How would you typically involve your CVB destination partners in your RFP process?
AUDREY: I always copy the CVB when I send out a lead. It is especially helpful in a destination I am not familiar with. The CVB ensures that I am including all possible hotels that will meet the meeting objectives and also alert me to city wide or other events in the destination that may impact availability or rates over our preferred dates. They can help me understand if I am going to need to prepare my clients to be more flexible or look at additional destinations.
TERRI: What is the most compelling thing to you about Carlsbad as a meeting destination?
AUDREY: Carlsbad brings great value! We have gorgeous properties with excellent service and surprisingly great rates. The key to securing the best value for my clients in this great city is identifying the patterns that the hotels are trying to fulfill. It’s important to ask and identify other patterns and dates that might be available to offer my clients where better rates are available due to occupancy.
TERRI: What was the attendee’s experience of the destination?
AUDREY:I always receive great feedback from attendees when they visit Carlsbad. They seem to enjoy the weather, beaches and those who have been only to San Diego for their meetings like the change.
TERRI: What’s your advice be to other planners who want to take a meeting to Carlsbad?
Audrey: You know they say hindsight is 20/20! If your dates are flexible the hotels can typically offer some great deals. Usually the summer months are busiest with individual travelers, so I would suggest looking at other non-summer months. January can actually be quite nice with warm weather and less tourists.