The Future of Meetings in Los Angeles | meetL.A.

The Future of Meetings in Los Angeles

There’s so much more to L.A. than endless sunshine and movie magic. Culturally rich and ever-evolving, Los Angeles has long been a popular destination for not only leisure travelers but also meeting attendees and conventioneers alike. As demand grows for revamped venues and immersive visitor experiences, Los Angeles finds itself in the midst of a destination transformation. From multi-million dollar venue renovations to improved city infrastructures and even more exciting entertainment options, the future has never looked so bright for the City of Angels.

Los Angeles Convention Center Renovation & the Revitalization of Downtown L.A.
Los Angeles Convention Center Rendering
Los Angeles Convention Center Rendering

Since its inception in 1971, the Los Angeles Convention Center (LACC), located in the heart of Downtown L.A., has hosted a multitude of top-tier conventions and has proved to be one of the most progressive and successful event venues in the world. In recent years, Downtown Los Angeles has experienced a monumental surge in growth and development and is fast becoming one of the city’s key cultural hubs. “The continued evolvement of Downtown L.A. as a reinvigorated destination is key in attracting new and returning business,” says Kathy McAdams, VP of Convention Sales at the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board.

Los Angeles Convention Center Rendering.
Los Angeles Convention Center Rendering.

To keep up with the Downtown’s flourishing landscape, the LACC is currently in the planning stages for a modernization and expansion renovation. The expansion looks to boost LACC’s total exhibition and meeting space from 867,000 to 1.24 million square feet. The proposed design from architectural firms Populous and HMC drew inspiration from Southern Californian Mid-Century Modernism, which emphasizes the continuity of indoor settings and the outdoor environment. The redesigned spaces will foster not only superior functionality but will allow for enhanced networking, socializing, and a more personalized convention experience. The project’s goal is to have the LACC and its surrounding attractions become the premier sports, convention, and entertainment center on the West Coast.

L.A.’s Expanding Hotel Portfolio
Rendering of the view from Wilshire Grand Center

Los Angeles welcomed a record 45.5 million visitors from around the world in 2015, making it one of the most popular destinations in the United States. With a booming tourism industry and a convention center that hosts 350 events annually, hotel occupancy levels are at an all-time high. In order to meet the rising demand, hoteliers have opened the flood gates to a wave of new and exciting hotel developments throughout L.A. The boutique properties and high-end megaprojects will add over 4,900 hotel rooms to the city from now until 2018. Noteworthy developments include the Wilshire Grand Center, an upscale world-class hotel in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles. Slated to open in 2017, the Wilshire Grand Center will not only boast luxury hotel rooms, but also cutting edge restaurants, businesses and attractive nightlife offerings. It will be the tallest structure west of the Mississippi, adding to the rich cultural and economic revival of Downtown. Learn more about the hotels coming to Los Angeles here.

New Attractions: Where Business Meets Leisure
The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures rendering.
The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures rendering. Photo courtesy of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

In recent years, more and more corporate travelers have integrated both business and leisure into their professional trips. The newly dubbed “Bleisure” segment approaches business travel as a lifestyle experience and there’s no better place to mix work with pleasure than in The Entertainment Capital of the World, Los Angeles. As the second largest city in the United States, it’s no surprise that L.A. is home to a robust roster of world-class attractions, diverse cultural activities and a burgeoning restaurant scene. Meeting attendees can expect even more “only-in-L.A.” entertainment options in the near future. “As a destination we’ve always had unique venues and attractions,” says Bryan Churchill, VP of Hotel Sales at the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board. “With the addition of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter coming to Universal Studios Hollywood in April 2016, Los Angeles will be on the map even more so than before.” Churchill believes the economic impact of the attraction will surely be astounding as it’s anticipating over a million incremental visitors in the first 12 months. Other noteworthy additions include the tallest open-air observation deck in California OUE Skyspace LA opening in spring 2016 and the much anticipated Academy Museum of Motion Pictures opening in 2017.

LAX Modernization
The New Tom Bradley International Terminal.
The New Tom Bradley International Terminal.

As Los Angeles continues to grow and evolve, as does its fundamental facilities and systems. The LAX Modernization Program consists of more than 20 individual projects to improve the traveler experience and is projected to last through 2019. The architectural jewel of the LAX modernization program is the new Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT) which is a destination unto itself. With $1.9 billion in completed improvements, TBIT has become a world-class terminal that offers passenger convenience, amenities and services, and further solidifies LA’s role as an international gateway. “Accessibility in and out of the airport is essential for meeting planners, and the LAX renovation will position Los Angeles to compete for convention business at a national level,” says McAdams. 

Transportation Expansion

Los Angeles is home to one of the country's best public transportation networks, offering rides to just about every corner of the Greater Los Angeles area. The city continues to make great strides in improving the Metro Rail system which is fast becoming a popular alternative to driving. Upcoming transit access from Downtown Los Angeles to Santa Monica, LAX, and other parts of the region will further enable visitors to explore L.A.’s diverse neighborhoods.