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What Meetings Mean for Ayres

Ayres Hotels likes taking meetings—about 20% of its total business comes from events of one sort or another.

The Business Journal estimates Ayres’ systemwide annual revenue at about $90 million.

The family-owned firm relies on a variety of gatherings, ranging from corporate meetings to weddings to church retreats, filling its 23 properties throughout the year.

A good mix of events means the Costa Mesa-based operator can “build the base and fill the gaps when needed, turn our group guests into loyal customers and increase ancillary revenue,” said Anja Levak, corporate director of revenue and marketing.

The 20% revenue figure is “significantly higher” at some properties, including Ayres Costa Mesa/Newport Beach, No. 46 on the Businesss Journal’s list of OC hotels ranked by meeting space (see list, page 27) with nearly 10,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor areas and Ayres Hotel Anaheim, near Honda Center and Angel Stadium.

Levak is seeing more emphasis on wellness from meetings clients, and a greater desire for upgraded technology.

Events “have added a health component, like yoga or meditation,” she said, and clients always want faster Wi-Fi.

Other popular elements: locally known restaurants in-house or within walking distance and more social spaces for evening events.

Millennial Falcons

Millennials are in full focus as such clients.

“We made a lot of changes recently to adjust our offerings to the needs and requests of a younger audience,” with more than half its properties getting some kind of renovation in the past year.

The 139-room Ayres Hotel Orange, with about 2,000 square feet of meeting space, for example, renovated lighting and heating in the courtyard.

Next up for Ayres is activity south of OC, with an opening next month of 135-room Ayres Hotel Chula Vista, part of a $45 million, 132,000-square-foot Millenia Commons retail project from Sudberry Properties. Two more San Diego hotels are also in the works.

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