Destination California Dishes on Sustainability and Engagement

Monterey offered the ideal backdrop for three days of business and networking among meeting planners and California suppliers — as well as inspiration for future events.

Destination California 2022 beach
Photo Credit: Ketara Gadahn/Studio Alani

The beauty of California's Central Coast was on full display at Northstar Meetings Group's annual Destination California hosted-buyer event, where about 80 attendees gathered Aug. 28-30 to plan future business, network and discuss the top-of-mind trends and challenges affecting the meetings industry.

The three-day event was held at the Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa, which offered a spectacular view of Monterey Bay and waterfront access to maritime activities, as well as the facilities required to get business done. In addition to one-on-one appointments and networking opportunities, attendees engaged in discussions about workplace engagement and the importance of developing a sustainable food-and-beverage program for groups.

Global keynote speaker Eric Termuende addressed workplace engagement, and building and retaining effective teams in the midst of the so-called Great Resignation. Termuende, who appeared courtesy of Goodman Speakers, acknowledged the staffing challenges in the meetings industry today and delivered actionable tips on building trust, sparking collaboration and avoiding the scenarios that too often to lead to "quiet quitting."

Monterey also provided the perfect environment for addressing culinary sustainability. The venerable Monterey Bay Aquarium not only hosted a memorable offsite dinner for attendees but also provided the expert to lead the following morning's sustainable-F&B discussion. Executive chef Matthew Beaudin explained his approach to crafting the right menus for groups, informed by the facility's world-renowned Seafood Watch as well as the fact that Monterey County is home to an extraordinary variety of fresh produce and local ranches. Because of his unique proximity and direct access to so much of the F&B supply chain, Beaudin was able to share with attendees the questions to ask and actions to take when working with venues and suppliers to set sustainability objectives and ensure they are met.

Additional sponsors who helped make Destination California a success included Visit California, the Monterey County CVB, Greater Ontario CVB, Long Beach CVB, Monterey Conference Center, Monterey Marriott, Portola Hotel, Essential Bodywear, CCM&E Destination Services, Carmel Valley Ranch, Aventri and PC/Nametag.

Following are some highlights Destination California 2022, from photographer Ketara Gadahn/Studio Alani.


Day One


An opening reception was held at the host property, the Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa.


Event design and lighting specialists Illusions of Grandeur, based in Carmel, brought the bay atmosphere indoors for the reception.


A wraparound terrace off the ballroom provided perfect views of Monterey Bay as the sun slowly set.

Day Two


Global keynote speaker and author Eric Termuende, who appeared thanks to Goodman Speakers, addressed staffing challenges — and how to build and retain great teams in today's workplace.


Participants engaged in one-on-one planner-supplier meetings throughout the morning.


Attendees had the option to go kayaking on the bay, courtesy of Adventures by the Sea.


Dinner at the Monterey Bay Aquarium included access to many of the facility's exhibits.

Day Three


Monterey Bay Aquarium executive chef Matthew Beaudin discussed culinary sustainability, and how to ensure best practices throughout the supply chain.


Productive planner-supplier meetings continued during the event's final day.


Attendees enjoyed a closing lunch at the Monterey Conference Center.