Meaningful Meetings

A Q&A with Terranea executives brings insight into inspiring safe connections and the current state of events.

The year 2020 continues to influence how we can make meaningful connections with our family, friends, and colleagues. In the hopes of obtaining a clearer perspective, we asked the meetings and events experts of Terranea Resort to give us their candid thoughts about why our expansive 102-acre resort is the ideal location for providing both ample space, as well as customization, and what the future looks like for safe gatherings, both personal and professional.

What are some of the major trends currently within corporate and business events?

Hybrid events are going to be an increasing trend. As more and more people are comfortable with traveling, there will still be challenges in overseas visitors being able to attend in person. Properties that partner with a technical company to provide the platform for the virtual segment of the program may give themselves an edge. – Gaetan Mousseau, Director of National Accounts

I love how everything is moving outdoors. As a California transplant I eat most of my meals outside almost year round. Having 102 acres at Terranea makes us a great place to move meals, meetings, and events outside. – Mark Adams, Senior Director of Sales

With the current situation, the new trends out there are safety and cleanliness at the resort, creative ideas for food presentations and how the amenities at the resort will fit into the new guidelines.  I would like to incorporate more single serve options for cocktail receptions in creative containers. – Maria Trabucco, Director of National Accounts

Describe a challenge in your current industry. Is there a solution?

It is difficult for companies to commit to events right now, given the uncertainty of what the future holds. However, it is important to make sure contract terms work for the venue, as well as the client, and assist in making the client feel comfortable throughout the process. – Melisa Rodgers, Director of National Accounts

I have been watching how Associated Luxury Hotels International (ALHI) handled their recent in-person event and the over-abundance of communication, preparedness, meeting of CDC guidelines, and adherence to strict health and safety protocols were fantastic and likely put everyone who was onsite at ease. The more that hotels are able to offer in this arena, the better and easier for meeting planners to communicate both internally and externally. – Gaetan Mousseau

What do you consider a top priority for guests, moving forward into 2020?

Safety is priority number one for our guests, and our Terranea Promise standards of care are positioned to assure our guests that they will receive best in class safety and sanitary conditions at Terranea. – Craig Mobbs, Assistant Director of Meetings & Events

Safety and cleanliness is top of mind with all my clients. They know we have first class service and amenities [at Terranea], and they trust us to exceed expectations. – Maria Trabucco

Our guests have to overcome the fear of being together. What made meetings, incentives and weddings so amazing was the feeling of comradery. Feeling each other’s energy, sharing in laughter and having common experiences. We must make that practice safe again. – Mark Adams

While on your own travels and attending meetings and events, what is the one element that you consistently look for?

The human element is most important to me.  If I cannot connect to a property through its people, then the service will never truly impress me. Every property is different, but in order to leave a lasting impression, your people have to touch me emotionally in some way. – Mark Kaussner, Senior Director of Catering & Conference Services

Cleanliness has always been huge for me. Hotels that are dirty and not well cared for are a big hot button. Attentive service without being annoying is always appreciated. As well as comfortable spaces with well thought out design. – Gaetan Mousseau

I’m always aware of personal interaction between staff and guests, no matter where I am. Eye contact is so important. – Melisa Rodgers

What are some of the ways Terranea is preparing for future meetings and social events, with safety and cleanliness in mind?

Some examples of our enhanced standards of care include requiring everyone to wear a mask and practice physical distancing, hand sanitizing stations throughout the resort, contact-free temperature checks for guests staying overnight, and proper food handling and presentation. We are implementing all of these safety policies and initiatives, without compromising the high quality of service we are known for. – Maria Trabucco

We have been actively preparing for the return of meetings and events to Terranea: reimagining our space capacities, creating detailed diagrams of physically distanced seating in the meeting rooms, safe flow of traffic, and new food and beverage service standards to ensure the safety of our guests. – Craig Mobbs

What can Terranea provide as far as technology for meetings and events, specifically for connecting with colleagues virtually?

We partner with the best and largest AV company in the country, PSAV. Their unlimited resources and great talent pool have been with us since opening and continue to impress our clients with their array of technology and services. – Mark Kaussner

Our clients are using applications and software such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and many other products to reach those who can’t be there in person. It is important to have associates who specialize in the virtual communication, which increase value for both the client and participants. – Maria Trabucco

In addition to excellent connectivity to WebEx and video conferencing, Terranea continues to examine what our own colleagues in the industry are providing to stay ahead of the curve for resources for hybrid meetings. – Gaetan Mousseau

Speaking of hybrid events, how do you visualize the future of hybrid in-person/virtual meetings developing at Terranea?

With 60,000 sq. ft. of flexible indoor meeting space and 75,000 sq. ft. of outdoor space, Terranea is well positioned to create hybrid and virtual meetings that will work well both for meetings with guests onsite, as well as meetings with virtual attendees. – Craig Mobbs

I believe that virtual and hybrid are necessary now, especially as we safely adapt to changes in government restrictions. However, there is no replacement for face-to-face meetings. While the content in the general session will always be important, it is the networking in the coffee breaks and receptions that bring people together. The morning fun run/walk seeing the sunrise over the Palos Verdes hills is what brings inspiration. You will never have these off of a screen. – Mark Adams

How do you personally maintain a sense of positivity and optimism, even in the midst of uncertainty?

I find joy in solving problems and finding solutions. – Melisa Rodgers

Focus on the present, maintain a positive mindset, stay close with my team, and stay connected with clients. – Gaetan Mousseau

The most important thing for our team is connectivity. Most of our team has been with the resort a minimum of five years and many opened the resort eleven years ago. We inspire each other. At the end of our daily business review meeting, we have always shared the pillar of intentional leadership and a bad joke. The jokes have gotten worse, but the leaning in to our culture has kept us together. – Mark Adams

I’ve always had a positive attitude in general, but working with such great people helps to keep me grounded. – Mark Kaussner

I approach each day as a gift. Being part of the Terranea team and the support we show each other makes my days easier. I have the best clients, and working with them to make their vision come to life gives me hope. We have all been through unprecedented times, but I concentrate on looking forward to better times for everyone, personally and professionally. – Maria Trabucco

Learn more about meetings & events at Terranea here.