A report from three properties in California shows that group
business is up, leisure stays are lengthier, revenues are higher,
and business overall is better than expected a year following the
At a Western regional meeting of Preferred Hotels & Resorts
Worldwide in Hawaii recently, properties within close driving
distance to major metropolitan areas said they have fared better
than properties in or very close to big cities.
The reasons? Prior to 9/11, many California companies had
meetings and retreats planned outside the state. After 9/11, some
of these companies brought them closer to home out of concern for
their employees’ safety and for budget-cutting purposes.
At Rancho Valencia Resort in San Diego County, for example,
group business is exceeding budget in 2002 by 4%; at Stonepine
Estate Resort in Carmel Valley, group business from California
represents 15% of its business, up from 9% prior to 9/11.
The same holds true for the leisure traveler, according to
Blaise Bartell, general manager of Surf & Sand Resort in Laguna
Beach. Bartell said that after 9/11 leisure travelers chose resorts
within driving distance. Some, Bartell said, who normally would
have stayed at local resorts for only a weekend substituted their
faraway vacations with extended local resort stays.
At Rancho Valencia Resort, Las Valencia Hotel and Surf &
Sand Resort, executives used a personal touch with groups who
wanted to cancel their bookings following 9/11. They negotiated
fair cancellation policies and, as a result, rebooked the business
in 2002, even for groups from the East Coast.
Many properties are offering deals to entice California
travelers to hit the road.
Two hotels at Yosemite National Park are making it easier and
affordable to visit this fall, winter and next spring. The Wawona
Hotel’s Midweek Spectacular package offers a room without a private
bath, plus a breakfast credit of $7.95 per person for two in the
hotel dining room, at $69 per room, double. The rate, subject to
availability, is good through Nov. 19. An extra charge of $16.50
applies for each additional adult per night; children under 12 stay
free in a parent’s room.
At the historic Ahwahnee Hotel, an expanded romance package,
offered seven days a week through April 15, 2003, is priced at $875
per room, double. The package includes deluxe accommodations for
two nights, a welcome bottle of sparkling wine, dinner for two in
the Ahwahnee dining room with a bottle of the property’s special
75th anniversary label wine, romantic gifts at turndown and late
check-out at 1 p.m. Call 559-252-4848.
The Fairmont Miramar Hotel Santa Monica has a unique twist on a
room-and-car package called the Room With a Vroom. Clients can
receive oceanview accommodations for one night, a rental car (not a
Chevy), valet parking and a copy of The California Coast: A
Traveler’s Companion. The package, available through 2002, is
priced at $419 per night for a Mercedes SLK or the BMW 323, $449
per night for a Porsche Boxster and $1,669 per night for a Bentley.
The Temecula Creek Inn in Temecula is running a Soft Adventure
Adrenaline Group package that includes accommodations for one night
with full American breakfast for groups of six or more, plus either
a four-hour introductory recreational dirt bike course or a guided
motorcycle adventure led by MotoVentures. The package, exclusive of
holiday periods, is priced at $395 per person. Call
The Hotel Juliana in San Francisco is offering a Travel Agent
Free Spree program until Dec. 30. Agents get the first night free
and the second or more nights at $110. Call 415-392-2540.
The Portofino Hotel & Yacht Club in Redondo Beach has
launched a Dining and Dreams package that includes accommodations
for one night in oceanview rooms and a $50 food- and-beverage
credit redeemable for a dinner for two at Breakwater-Steak, Jazz
and Seafood restaurant or room service for two. Available through
Dec. 30, the package is priced at $199. Call 310-379-8481.
Travel agents can receive 20% commission through Dec. 30 at
Personality Hotels on Union Square in San Francisco. Properties are
the Hotel Diva, Hotel Metropolis, Hotel Union Square and the
Kensington Park Hotel. Call 800-553-1900.
Tarsadia Hotels is building two new Residence Inns in Anaheim
and Mission Valley, San Diego. The Residence Inn Anaheim is slated
to open in summer 2003. The Residence Inn Mission Valley/SeaWorld
is slated to open in early 2003.