Meetings Focus
By Jeff Heilman

Famed Beat poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti described Southern California as the place "where the American Dream came too true." Don't tell that to Anaheim and Orange County, though. After welcoming more than 44 million travelers last year, the area is aiming even higher via projects such as the $180 million expansion of the Anaheim Convention Center. With yet more venues and options invigorating the mix, Orange County is fueled for continued growth...

Ranked "America's Safest Big City" by the FBI since 2005, this multifaceted city, offering 3,400 rooms in the heart of Orange County, is made to measure for business travelers on the go.

"While the stereotypical airport hotel is typically not a planner's first choice, the experience is different in Irvine," says Trisha Edmonds, director of sales for Destination Irvine. "We have nine properties within minutes of the airport that offer amenities and entertainment along with convenience-and the ability to conduct business soon after arrival."

With both offering space for small meetings, the 224-room Courtyard by Marriott Irvine Spectrum is slated to open this summer, followed by the 176-room Hilton Garden Inn Irvine/OC Airport in December.

Another reason to book Irvine?

"Qualified meetings using one of our 14 hotels will receive 5 percent back of total sales to the hotel's master folio, up to $2,500 per meeting," Edmonds says...