Destination Irvine’s Work Contributes to Millions of Dollars in Economic Impact for the City

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

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As many Orange County hotels compete for business, Destination Irvine—the destination marketing division of the Greater Irvine Chamber—is distinguishing the city as a preferred location for overnight visitors. The Destination Irvine team focuses on bringing business and sports groups to Irvine, matching them with properties that offer sought-after amenities and access to Irvine and Orange County facilities and locales.

“The economic impact of visitor spending in Irvine contributes millions of dollars to local and state taxes, which offsets these costs for residents, said Wendy Haase, vice president, Destination Irvine. “Destination Irvine’s marketing and sales initiatives play a strategic role in generating travel expenditures by bringing millions of visitors, whether conference attendees, leisure travelers, or those attending a sporting event, to Irvine.”

The return on investment is exponentially profitable and leads to long-term relationships that continue to pay off, even now as the state and county mandated closures put in place to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus severely limit travel.

Intended to bring high value to Irvine, the Business Development (BD) fund allows the Destination Irvine team to pursue and close single hotel or multiple hotel business for the city, enables Irvine to be competitive with surrounding cities in the county. A valuation formula is applied to determine subsidy availability on a case-by-case basis, considering the projected overall expenses of each potential group. The Destination Irvine team works to gain a thorough understanding of the needs of each client, which is key to grant funding to help materialize bookings in Irvine hotels. When a group books an Irvine hotel, visitor spending extends to local businesses, contributing to the overall economic health of the city.  

Winning out over several Orange County hotels, Destination Irvine leveraged BD funds to incentivize the NFL Chargers to stay in Irvine during its football training camp held in July and August at Jack Hammett Sports Complex in neighboring Costa Mesa. In its fourth year in a row, that deal brought players, coaches, and support staff to an Irvine hotel. This year, additional rooms were booked along with that visit as the HBO show Hard Knocks, covering the Chargers and Rams training camps, brought with it a full production crew. The season series premiered Aug. 11.

With BD Funds, Destination Irvine was also able to offer an incentive to the Special Olympics to stay in the city, winning out business over Huntington and Costa Mesa during November of 2019, resulting in $100K economic impact for Irvine hotels.

USA Softball, which usually holds its meetings outside of Irvine, selected the city for lodging for two of its groups in 2019, because of incentives made possible through BD Funds, resulting in $182K in economic impact. 

Other groups that have booked Irvine hotels include American Red Cross, American Research Center, and Robbins Research International.

Destination Irvine also works to keep revenue from leaving the city. Through its Loyalty Pays Off program, the Destination Irvine team encourages Irvine-based companies and Greater Irvine Chamber members to keep their group business meetings local. Irvine-based businesses that have participated include Allergan, Blizzard, Pacific Dental Services, and Taco Bell, to name a few.

During the fiscal year 2019-2020, Destination Irvine sales and marketing efforts generated $11.6 million in direct hotel revenue and $11.1 million in economic impact to the local economy.

For more information about Irvine as a destination and sports and meeting space opportunities, visit


Category: Destination Irvine, Economic Development