While the emphasis this year for travelers – whether they are visiting for business or leisure – centers around health and safety protocols, Santa Cruz County’s fresh air, 300 days of sunshine a year, coastal redwood forests, 29 miles of coastline, and unique outdoor experiences are what make this region of California so appealing. Many post-conference activities remain unchanged. And while the great outdoors will be ready for when the workday is finished, let’s take a glimpse at what measures hotels and resorts are offering on-property to keep meeting attendees and groups safe and engaged:
This beachfront spot – where every guest and meeting room offers a view of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary – overlooks Santa Cruz’s Cowell Beach. With easy access to the Santa Cruz Wharf, scenic West Cliff Drive, and the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, the Dream Inn is its own oasis of classic California surf culture. An effortlessly cool west coast vibe can be seen throughout the property, from the O’Neill surfboard timeline which greets lobby guests to the chic furnishings which have an essence of mid-century-modern-meets-21st-century-design. You can almost feel the sun on your skin, all while you are inside this postmodern landmark hotel.
The Dream Team has been busy streamlining operations and upgrading safety protocols to welcome meeting attendees back in 2021. Here’s what you can expect when you arrive for a meeting or conference:
- 3500 square feet of ocean view Meeting space with doors that open for fresh air
- Outdoor Beach Meetings
- Patio Meetings
- Vertical Meetings
- Live Feed / Zoom provided
- Newly installed Ventilation System
- Bipolar Ionization Technology in all public indoor areas – Reduces Bacteria and Viruses up to 99.9 percent
- CHLA Clean + Safe Certified
- AAA Inspectors Best of Housekeeping 2020
- All new CDC Guidelines for hotels meetings adapted for every occasion
- Cleaning & sanitizing of all tables between each break
- Waivers & Temperature Check stations provided
- Hand Sanitizer stations at each entrance
- Wellness and Safety Training for Hotel Associates and Staff – Every associate is thoroughly trained before working.
- In-room or private dining options available
- Complimentary Immunity booster shots.
Outdoor Beach Meetings – Grab your beach chair and head out to Cowell Beach – steps from your guest room – to connect with co-workers. This classic spot is popular with locals who are drawn to the mellow waves and warm sand. Dig your toes in and kick back as you spread out for your seminar or activity.
Vertical Meetings – Step out onto your private balcony in your guest room and partake not only of the view but of a vertical meeting: host speakers will relay presentations from a platform on the pool deck below. Get a tan and get involved in your seminar with this innovative take on the sit-down gathering.
Complimentary Immunity Booster Shots – Everyone needs a boost now and then! Roll up your sleeves for this tasteful treat with combinations that include celery, apple, and cucumber or lemon, ginger, and turmeric.
Boasting a contemporary motif, the Four Points by Sheraton Scotts Valley exudes the charm of a modern executive library with personal touches. In addition to elevated cleaning practices across all fronts, including public spaces, highly-trafficked areas, and guest rooms, the property has enlisted the following protocols to address safety protocols for the meetings market:
- Tables are spaced apart (per local guidelines) with more single-chair tables added for solo business travelers, and additional four-tops added for leisure-centric business.
- Reduced seating at communal tables to promote social distancing.
- Reduced number of bar stools to accommodate six feet of separation between parties.
- Tables, chairs, and planters are creatively used as barriers to direct guest flow to food and beverage staging areas.
- Sixteen rooms overlooking a Spanish-tiled outdoor space provide small meeting attendees the option of participating in a vertical meeting.
- Utilization of outdoor seating as much as possible utilizing courtyard and balcony spaces.
- Utilize meeting rooms or other spaces to accommodate overflow seating setups that follow service and social distancing guidelines.
- Signage displayed throughout the hotel to encourage social distancing and required face coverings for public indoor areas.
- Hand sanitation stations set up in meeting spaces.
Creative Use of Barriers – Stylish planters, expertly designed spaces utilizing tables and chair create a welcome and safe environment for meeting attendees.
Outdoor Games on Property – Fun, interactive post-work games are hosted on the outdoor patio. Jenga, cornhole and Connect Four bring conference and meeting attendees together for socially-distanced fun.
Stylishly Safe – A Spanish-tiled expansive outdoor patio tinged with Mediterranean flavor provides overflow meeting space and lots of room for after-work receptions and team-building games and activities.
The Four Points by Sheraton Scotts Valley is one of the area’s newer properties located near state parks and world-class golf with easy access to San Jose and Silicon Valley.
This full-service property in a semi-rural setting reflects the natural beauty of the nearby redwood forests. Nestled near the Santa Cruz Mountains, the Hilton Santa Cruz/Scotts Valley offers 174 guest rooms and 7,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting and banquet space.
Launched at the end of April 2020, Hilton’s CleanStay standardized cleanliness and sanitation best practices for the brand, and was developed with RB, the parent company of Lysol and the Mayo Clinic.
Expanding on CleanStay, Hilton recently announced the EventReady Hybrid Solutions for Meetings and Events. This program provides Hilton staff with a comprehensive training resource specific to hybrid meetings to ensure meeting and conference guests will receive the utmost guest service experience with regard to the technology and safety protocols associated with a hybrid meeting.
The Hilton Santa Cruz/Scotts Valley will be employing the EventReady Hybrid Solutions program at the property later this season.
In the meantime, here are the safety protocols the property has implemented to keep guests safe:
- Pre-Arrival Messaging – Guests will receive pre-arrival communications with their reservation details and an explanation of the CleanStay program.
- Contactless and Enhanced Check-In – Hilton Honors members can use Digital check-in and Digital Key through the Hilton Honors app to bypass the front desk and go straight to their room. Non-Honors guests will notice enhanced cleaning and hygiene standards at the front desk.
- Lobby Seating, Signage, and Enhanced Cleaning – As guests walk through the lobby, they will notice that seating has been arranged to accommodate social distancing. Guests will see Hilton team members cleaning and disinfecting the lobby more frequently. Signage encouraging social distancing and explaining the CleanStay program will also be placed throughout the lobby.
- Elevator Cleaning and Sanitation Station – As guests approach the elevator, they will see a hand sanitizing and disinfecting station for added peace of mind. Additionally, they will notice that elevators are being cleaned more frequently, with disinfecting wipes available for their use.
- Gestures of Hospitality – Along the way, guests may encounter team members welcoming them and demonstrating hospitality while staying respectful of social distancing.
- CleanStay Room Seal – As guests approach their rooms, they’ll see that it has been sealed by housekeeping after deep cleaning and disinfection. The seal confirms no one has accessed the room since being cleaned.
- Deep-Cleaned Room – As guests move through their rooms, they will see a clean top of the bed that has been washed at high temperature after every stay (a long-established Hilton standard), messaging on mirror clings that outlines the use of Lysol for “high-touch areas,” a sealed TV remote control and Lysol disinfecting wipes. They will also notice that printed collateral and materials have been removed from the room.
- Food and Beverage Experience – For meals and beverages, guests will experience seating arranged to accommodate social distancing, order from sanitized (or single-use) menus, and notice special attention to cleanliness and hygiene. Certain Hilton hotel brands will feature to-go breakfast offerings to minimize contact. If room service is ordered, guests will experience contactless delivery, with orders and single-use service ware placed outside the door.
- Fitness Center – When guests visit the fitness center, they will notice that the equipment has been arranged to accommodate social distancing. They’ll also see increased availability of disinfectant wipes with signage on proper use.
- Contactless Check-Out – When it’s time to check-out, guests can do so either directly through the Hilton Honors app or simply by calling the front desk.
Hybrid Meetings Training Program – With the Hilton CleanStay Program now a staple, Hilton has now launched its training program for staff so hybrid meeting guests can count on a flawless technological and in-person experience.
Contactless Check-In and Check-Out – Hilton Honors guests can use the Hilton Honors app for contactless check-in and check-out and obtain a digital key, bypassing the front desk.
CleanStay Practices and Gestures of Hospitality – Elevated cleaning and sanitation practices through Hilton’s CleanStay Program paired with team members welcoming guests while staying respectful of social distancing means the guest experience will remain top of mind for team members.
The Hilton Santa Cruz/Scotts Valley is a lodge-inspired tranquil retreat built into a hillside.
The team at Visit Santa Cruz County looks forward to welcoming you back in 2021 – when it is safe to do so. Until then, be sure to follow Meet in Santa Cruz on Twitter and LinkedIn for the latest news and information!