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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.


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Join more than 350 San Diego industry experts and become Meeting Certified.
Reinforce your position as an authority on selling San Diego!

This certification program is designed specifically for Hotel Sales Managers, Directors of Sales, and General Managers. It provides you with an actionable plan for selling your property, neighborhood, and the destination to improve your hotel conversion rate.

The TMD has set this program as a priority for 2018 and is committed to subsidizing it for all candidates. That means there is NO COST for you to attend. The course is now completely free for all qualified hotel sales managers and general managers - and that means YOU!

YOUR INVESTMENT: FREE for the entire 3-class session. 
San Diego Meeting Certified is powered by the Tourism Marketing District, Experience San Diego: Destination 2040.



A Graduate's Insight on Meeting Certified



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. 


"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."


CHOOSE FROM ANY OF THESE SESSIONS (each session includes three class dates):

Session 1
Wednesday, January 24, 2018 
Wednesday, February 07, 2018 
Wednesday, February 21, 2018
The Westin San Diego Gaslamp Quarter
Session 2
Thursday, March 01, 2018
Thursday, March 15, 2018 
Thursday, March 29, 2018
Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina

Session 3
Thursday, April 12, 2018 
Thursday, April 26, 2018 
Wednesday, May 09, 2018 
Hilton San Diego Mission Valley
Session 4
Thursday, May 24, 2018 
Thursday, June 07, 2018 
Thursday, June 21, 2018
The Lafayette Hotel, Swim Club & Bungalows
Session  5
Thursday, August 02, 2018 
Thursday, August 16, 2018 
Thursday, August 30, 2018
Hilton San Diego Resort & Spa
1775 E. Mission Bay Dr.
Session  6
Thursday, September 06, 2018 
Thursday, September 20, 2018 
Thursday, October 04, 2018

San Diego Marriott Del Mar
11966 El Camino Real
Session  7
Thursday, October 11, 2018 
Thursday, October 24, 2018 
Thursday, November 07, 2018

901 Bayfront Court
Session  8
Thursday, November 15, 2018 
Thursday, November 29, 2018 
Thursday, December 13, 2018

San Diego Marriott La Jolla
4240 La Jolla Village Drive

DAY 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. 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 stories that directly relate to your market, region, and neighborhood

DAY 2 - Story Selling Approach to Fuel Site Experiences that Win Business

In order to truly differentiate your destination and your hotel and venue offerings, you have to 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 actually present your destination and property in its best light to win the business during a memorable site experience.

In this session, we will learn to create dynamic proposals, execute tailored site experiences, and gain 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 quality any piece of business
  • How to tailor the site experience to your discovery
  • How to establish an emotional connection to the destination and your property

DAY 3 - Cultivating Creativity and Putting Your Skills To Work

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 is created, learned and cultivated…it’s not something you are simply born with, but a way of thinking that is fostered by specific practices.

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 group presentations to showcase our learning. We will discover:

  • How to jump start the creative process
  • How creativity isn’t a solitary process and where to look for inspiration and support
  • Changes to make in the approach to your work to keep creativity flowing
  • We will creatively put our knowledge to work as we role play and present our brand asset stories from assignments given in session one


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. In addition to her own company, Terri has worked with Destinations International (formerly DMAI) for the past five 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.


Recent surveys show that attendee satisfaction is a planners No. 1 success metric.  And, attendees tell us that destination appeal is the second most important factor in their decision to attend. San Diego has lots of appeal and as a destination we need to ensure we communicate that clearly and consistenly. This insight gives us the opportunity to create a more destination-cohesive and branded sales community.


At the end of the program:

  1. You will receive recognition from the Payne School of Hospitality at SDSU that you are “San Diego Meeting Certified.” 
  2. You will have an action plan developed from your input and other voices in your neighborhood to effectivly market your hotel and surrounding area.
  3. Future group advertising will be built around the message that San Diego has come together and is committed to meeting planner success through this community education program. 
  4. A “San Diego Meeting Certified” section will be added to listing all individual sales managers and their hotels that complete the program.
  5. You will earn the “San Diego Meeting Certified” logo to add to your email and signature block.




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