Dana Point, California, halfway between Los Angeles and San Diego, is situated to attract corporate groups looking for an experience that’s “a little bit different.” So says Sean Keliiholokai, the inaugural executive director of Visit Dana Point, a DMO formed last summer to attract more meetings to the destination.
Previously serving as director of sales and marketing for the Greater Ontario (California) CVB, Keliiholokai locked in The Advisory Board Company’s Cardiovascular Roundtable in January, tech conference Code Media in February and the California Workers and Risk Conference coming up in September.
Dana Point’s appeal starts with the harbor the area is built around. The picturesque setting has four resort hotels, which immediately spring to mind leisure travel or corporate events. But the properties, with a combined 1,370 guest rooms and 250,000 square feet of meeting space, are dedicated to working together to attract meetings of all kinds.
Outside area hotels, conference participants can get in touch with nature with long hikes or walking meetings. Whale watching is a popular excursion, in part because the calm seas practically ensure good views of marine life.
Fishing is another relaxing and popular activity. Ocean Institute, an education facility dedicated to the seas, includes meeting space and can be rented for events. Family-based meetings can schedule outings for children to Disneyland or Knott’s Berry Farm, both about an hour’s drive away.
Closer in, the city of Dana Point is doing its part to entertain. Festivals, usually related to water, are a regular occurrence. Meanwhile, work continues on improving Dana Point Lantern District along Del Prado Avenue, which also hosts events.