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San Diego Meeting Certified Program

One Message, One Voice, One Brand

Powered by the Tourism Marketing District, Experience San Diego: Destination 2040.

San Diego Meeting Certified Program

The official sales and marketing organization for the San Diego region, the San Diego Tourism Authority (SDTA), has surpassed more than 400 graduates from its new “San Diego Meeting Certified” training program. Launched last January, this advanced program for hotel meetings sales staff is already on track to train more than 600 graduates before the end of the year.

Designed by SDTA Senior Vice President of Sales and Service Margie Sitton specifically for hotel sales managers, directors of sales, and general managers, the certificate program provides graduates with an actionable plan for selling their property, neighborhood, and the destination to ensure meeting planners considering San Diego receive the highest level of professional engagement with San Diego’s hotel sales teams.

Candidates learn how to speak with one unified voice to set the San Diego experience apart from its competitors and how keeping a customer-first mindset will ultimately lead to higher conversion rates.

 

San Diego Meeting Certified is powered by the Tourism Marketing District, Experience San Diego: Destination 2040.

 

SUPPORTED BY INDUSTRY ORGANIZATIONS

THE STARS HAVE ALIGNED

The San Diego Tourism Marketing District, San Diego Hotel-Motel Association, local chapters of Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International and Meeting Planners International, the School of Hospitality at SDSU, and San Diego Tourism Authority have come together to offer a revamped and enhanced Meeting Certified training program on selling San Diego to the group customer. This is part of the TMD master plan, Experience San Diego: 2040. 

SEE WHAT RECENT GRADUATES HAVE TO SAY...

"I am a newer sales manager and I was eager to attend the San Diego Meeting Certified Program because I thought it was such a great opportunity to further connect with San Diego and my property. While it's only 3 sessions, those 3 sessions are wonderfully crafted, and packed with very useful information to help guide sales managers to become better overall. The second session on curating a site experience challenged me to restructure the way I engage with my potential clients when they come to our property. It's so easy to become a transactional sales person - but after this class, I couldn’t wait to come up with new ways to really get the client excited about holding their event with us. I now take the extra steps to ensure I am being a curious sales person, versus a transactional one, because every potential client needs to know all that San Diego has to offer! I highly recommend this program to every sales manager; it is a fun, engaging program and I'm so happy I attended!"
-- Rosaline Verhoog, Estancia Resort

"As someone new to San Diego, I enjoyed connecting with fellow industry colleagues to learn more about their properties and areas of expertise. I also liked the overall concept of using stories and tactics like mind-mapping to better engage the client and understand their specific needs."

"The story selling approach was a great way to address the eventual rut that most sales people will find themselves in. I have already seen a difference in my ability to sell my property with more confidence."

 

2019 - San Diego Meeting Certified Schedule

Which class is right for you?

START TO FINISH - A UNIQUE EXPERIENCE

“When meeting planners come to San Diego, we want them to have the absolute best possible experience from start to finish, from the DMO level to the property level,” says Sitton. She notes that the program focuses on “story selling,” which encourages sales staff to use creativity when talking to clients about both their property and the local community. “Learning the art of story selling isn’t just a benefit to the sales person – it’s also about bringing value to the customer.”

FACILITATED BY TERRI ROBERTS

Terri is a trainer and hospitality consultant whose passion is to deliver programs that are fresh and specifically tailored to both the topic and the participants. Terri has over 25 years of hospitality industry experience and has worked with Marriott Hotels and Resorts and the San Diego Tourism Authority in both sales and training capacities. Terri also worked with Destinations International (formerly DMAI) for the past eight years as their Director of Training and Communications, interfacing directly with meeting planners on a day-to-day basis. That experience provides a unique insight to our customer’s expectations and is the basis for the “San Diego Meeting Certified” program.

PART 1 - Selling San Diego: One Message, One Voice, One Brand

We will prepare the San Diego hospitality community to be wired tight for destination sales and service success. Critical to our mission: sellers who are able to clearly articulate the San Diego brand as it relates to their customer’s program objective.

In recent surveys, planners assert attendee satisfaction as their number one success meeting metric and attendees claim destination appeal as the second most important factor in their decision to attend any meeting. This insight gives great merit to creating a more destination cohesive and branded sales community.

In this session, we will learn how to create one unified voice to sell California’s Beach City, along with preparing to present the distinctive and diverse appeal of our neighborhoods and regions, as we explore:

  • The latest research on the influencers of attendee and planner perceptions
  • How to set the San Diego experience apart from other destinations by expertly branding California’s Beach City appeal and tapping into Smart City resources to increase planner’s preference to choose San Diego for their meetings and events
  • How to develop brand asset presentations steeped in story telling that directly relate to your market, region, and neighborhood

PART 2 - Personalized Site Experiences and Polished Presentations

In order to truly differentiate your destination and your hotel and venue offerings, you must understand the objectives of the meeting, demographics of the attendees, and key decision factors, along with the biases of the decision makers. After the business is fully qualified and you have an expert understanding of the meeting and planner, you are in a tremendous position to present your destination and property in its best light to win the business during a memorable site experience or a refined presentation.

In this session, we will learn to fully qualify the objectives of the event planner and execute tailored site experiences, gaining the confidence of the planner in believing your specific offerings are uniquely suited to best meet not only their requirements, but their unstated desires as well, as we explore:

  • How to expertly qualify any business opportunity
  • How to tailor the site experience to your discovery
  • How to establish an emotional connection to the destination and your property through story selling and polished presentations

PART 3 - Cultivating Creativity and Story Selling in Your Sales Approach

Creativity is a process that can inspire things we do routinely to be fresh and innovative, and education can greatly enhance the ability of a person to look at repetitive processes with a keener eye. While “I’m just not creative” is the refrain of many, it is the reality of few. Creativity can be learned and cultivated. Tapping into your own originality and the uniqueness of the products and services you sell can help you weave emotionally driven and memorable narratives and polished and engaging presentations. 

In this session, we will explore roadblocks that limit and opportunities for increasing our creativity. We will also put the knowledge gained in our first two sessions to work as we collaborate on presentations to showcase our learning. We will discover:

  • Jump starting the creative process
  • How to use story selling to make interactions more personal and memorable

At the end of this day, we will also put the knowledge acquired in all our sessions to work, as we gain practical experience in presenting to showcase our understanding of the concepts we have covered.

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