How California DMOs and CVBs Are Responding to COVID-19

The Golden State continues to book business and offer virtual services to planners amid the coronavirus.

How Californian DMOs and CVBs Are Responding to COVID-19

As different cities in California slowly reopen, event professionals can start brainstorming where they want their next meeting to be once events resume in the Golden State. Los Angeles Tourism and Travel Costa Mesa have adjusted their resources that allow planners to explore venues, get to know a sales team or learn more about the culture in the area—all virtually. Meanwhile, Visit Anaheim continues to book business amid the COVID-19 pandemic.


The home of Disneyland received some joy in April when Visit Anaheim secured $10 million in city revenue after the DMO partnered with the city of Anaheim as part of the Community and Economic Recovery Plan adopted by Mayor Harry Sidhu and the city council. This influx of revenue will help position the local community and tourism for a prosperous rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

With the recovery plan in place, Visit Anaheim rescheduled two shows and secured eight future bookings for the Anaheim Convention Center. The 10 shows represent more than $475 million in local economic impact and will generate an estimated $9.2 million in tourism occupancy tax revenue for the city. 

“Our team continues to deliver results that will benefit the destination and local residents with future business,” says Jay Burress, president and CEO of Visit Anaheim.

The team was able to successfully rebook and secure the shows despite facing a staff reduction by 60% and employees and senior leadership taking a 25% and 50% pay cut. 

The convention center still has 30 additional conventions scheduled for 2020, and the CVB is working to retain those events which would result in an additional $4.7 million in tourism occupancy tax to the city. Rebooked business for the convention center includes the Diversified Communications and International Society for Technology in Education, Future Business Leaders of America, among others. 

Visit Anaheim has also worked with the Society of Toxicology. When SOT’s event was canceled due to the coronavirus, the CVB didn’t want unused meeting supplies to go to waste, so it partnered with SOT, Transportation Charter Services and Anaheim White House to donate 6,000 unused meeting bags to local nonprofit to assist in its distribution of food to youth and families in need. 

Los Angeles

Hollywood is usually the first place to do something big and new, and the same can be true for virtual meeting services in Los Angeles. When the Los Angeles Tourism launched its virtual site inspections and interactive presentation tools—the first DMO to do so in the industry a few years back—it probably wasn’t expecting how critical a need to have virtual services would be in the future. The DMO was ahead of its time. 

Now, planners can take advantage of its virtual services from the comfort of their homes. The Los Angeles Tourism sales team wants to bring the magic of LA to meeting planners no matter their location.

“We know planners across the globe are hard at work, planning events and ensuring the continuity of future business. Our team is harnessing the creativity, innovation and cutting-edge technology Los Angeles is known for to help planners navigate the unforeseen challenges brought by the pandemic,” says Darren K Green, senior vice president for sales at the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board.

These tools can be discovered on the new resource page that’s event planners one-stop-shop for virtual site inspections, digital presentations, Zoom backgrounds, “Get to Know” videos about the sales team and an online venue finder. 

Peruse through more than 35 locations, including the Los Angeles Convention Center, to see where the stars can align for your next event post-COVID-19 when you look at the virtual site inspections, and you can learn about LA and some of the best spots in the area when you watch the “Get to Know” sales team videos.

Costa Mesa

We’re all longing for a beach day, but until we can frolic in the sand again, Travel Costa Mesa is bringing the beach community to planners—virtually. The CVB has created “armchair” experiences where planners can experience virtual content of the Orange County city from their home.

The creative content includes 11 Zoom virtual backgrounds to download, a DIY de-stress blog, online performances of the Pacific Symphony, livestreaming concerts and videos of the Philharmonic Society Orange County, wine tasting classes, cooking videos from several Costa Mesa chefs and more.

These virtual experiences give a taste of what the Southern California city has to offer event professionals once we can meet again