Destination Irvine’s AnaLaura Becerra Honored with Prestigious Industry Award

Tuesday, November 09, 2021

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AnaLaura Becerra, CMP, CTA, director of Corporate Sales for Destination Irvine, the destination marketing division of the Greater Irvine Chamber, has been honored with the prestigious Joule Catalyst Award by Smart Meetings, the hospitality industry’s leading media company and trusted resource for meeting planners.

Nominated by industry peers, Becerra is among 41 leaders in seven categories; recipients for the Catalyst Award were selected based on their approach to delivering elevated hospitality and their vision for the future.

Here’s what Becerra told Smart Meetings Magazine:

Her motivation: How can I make your life better today?

Approach to supercharging experiences: Listening with a purpose not only to what people say but also how they respond. I’m fluent in body language! All relationships start with conversations, and the more you listen, the more you can empathize with people and create trust, which will eventually result in mutually beneficial business. Kindness, flexibility, and a proactive approach are inherent to hospitality, and being hospitable means being of service to clients, colleagues, and friends alike.

I want people to be comfortable around me, and humor always helps. Sometimes, though, difficult conversations need to happen, and I’m not one who shies away from being direct and specific at the time when things are happening. I’m always grateful for the time someone’s given me. The magic words, thank you, always work.

Moment of enlightenment: The most important project of last year was to keep people engaged and informed. With so many furloughed, reaching out to clients, colleagues, and MPI members became an endless phone call that I very much enjoyed, as conversations boosted personal connections. Many of my counterparts in other destination marketing organizations (DMOs) are also Meeting Professionals International (MPI) members, so regular and consistent communication was the seed of an idea that was originally conceived as a way to acknowledge Global Meetings Industry Day (GMID), but that quickly morphed into the creation of West Coast DMO Alliance, which is the final product of a wide collaboration with plenty of talent. I was hosting a site visit with a meeting planner who was coming to Orange County for the first time, and teaming up with my otherwise competitors, we each showcased our cities in a very cohesive way. The planner was thrilled to see such cooperation and ended up not only booking three different meetings and three different cities, but also writing a stellar review of her site experience in both her company’s and her client’s newsletter. Everyone won! The ripple effect was that with such review, the work we do as a DMO, often invisible, became apparent and reached hundreds of potential future clients.

Next advance pursuing: The post-pandemic world has brought a wave of new people all over the meetings and travel industry. I’m currently working in quarterly educational seminars for our hoteliers, reassessing the way to approach and engage our local community, and develop ideas that foster further cooperation and visibility for the West Coast DMO Alliance. From the MPI perspective, my role now is morphing into showing members all the education opportunities based on the stage of your career. Most importantly, I am a tireless advocate for mentorships and for showing that in the hospitality industry, we conquer when we don’t divide.

Becerra serves as vice president of membership MPI Orange County and in 2017 was named its Rising Star of the Year and Outstanding Chapter Leader in 2020. She is a member of CalSAE and SITE. She served on the  Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International board for five years. She has held positions with Delta, Korean Air, Malaysian Airlines, and Hilton and Marriott hotels. A native of Mexico City, Becerra was a tenured professor at her alma mater, Universidad Anáhuac.

For information on hosting a group meeting in Irvine and the Irvine Loyalty Program, contact AnaLaura Becerra.

Category: Business Excellence, award, Business Achievement Awards, Greater Irvine Chamber, Destination Irvine, Irvine