SANTA MONICA, Calif. (June 23, 2015) After 33 years of doing business as the Santa Monica Convention & Visitors Bureau (SMCVB), the private, non-profit organization responsible for the promotion of Santa Monica as a conference, business and leisure travel destination has changed its name to Santa Monica Travel & Tourism (SMTT).

“The general consensus was that our former name confused visitors and clients with the impression that Santa Monica is home to a convention center, which is not the case,” said SMTT CEO/President, Misti Kerns. Ellis O’Connor of MSD Hospitality and chairman of the SMTT Board of Directors emphasized, “The intensively competitive landscape of travel and tourism continues to grow both domestically and internationally, forcing us to look deeper into the positioning of Santa Monica as a destination. We have responded accordingly, coining a new name that better reflects our destination and clarifies the efforts and objectives of the organization to consumers and professional buyers.”

The name change coincides with the recent launch of Santa Monica’s destination brand refresh. The refresh includes: an entirely revamped SantaMonica.com with a new hotel booking portal and responsive design, a redesigned logo, a new Official Visitors Guide and Official Visitors Map, brand style guide, destination photography and video, and newly designed Free Ride shuttles. The official refreshed brand unveil took place at the 6th annual Travel & Tourism Summit on Thursday, May 14, where over 250 Santa Monica business owners, city leaders and hospitality employees convened.

“My team at Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel is excited to utilize Santa Monica’s refreshed destination brand tools, website, visitor guide and map,” said Paul Leclarc, SMTT board member and managing director of Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel. “These new assets will allow us to better serve our guests and showcase the destination experience to prospective clients while further solidifying Santa Monica’s reputation as the premier beach city destination in the world.”

Tourism is a significant contributor to the economic well being of Santa Monica. In 2014, tourism injected $1.72 billion into the community, supported 13,700 jobs that cannot be exported and generated $45.5 million into the City of Santa Monica’s general fund through hotel Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT). These revenues support essential city services including schools, parks, libraries, police and fire services.

In 2014, overnight visitors represented 13% of Santa Monica’s visitor base, but produced 69% of total visitor spending. Statistics such as this encapsulate why converting day visitors to overnight is critical to the economic vitality of Santa Monica. In an effort to initiate this conversion, SMTT’s newly launched website features an integrated booking engine platform that drives bookings directly from SantaMonica.com to hotels’ websites.

“We look at each of SantaMonica.com’s monthly site visitors as a potential customer for our hotels and a revenue source for our city and local businesses,” emphasized Kerns. “This new booking engine ensures that our site is not only attracting prospective visitors, but also referring business to our hotels and community partners, as visitors to the site plan where to dine, shop and play in the destination.”

Another exciting new feature of SantaMonica.com is a partner portal that gives tourism-serving businesses with a Santa Monica city business license the ability to review, update and maintain their information displayed on their free dedicated business page on the website and keep SMTT armed with their business’s most up-to-date digital assets. To learn more about how your business can get started, email partnerportal@santamonica.com or call (310) 319-6263.

About Santa Monica Convention & Visitors Bureau
Santa Monica Travel & Tourism (SMTT), formerly Santa Monica Convention & Visitors Bureau, is a non-profit organization designed to increase visitor expenditures, tourism revenues and local employment opportunities through the promotion of Santa Monica as a travel destination. For travel and accommodation information or a free copy of the official Visitors Guide, the public can write to the Santa Monica Visitor Center, 2427 Main Street, Santa Monica, CA 90405; call (800) 544-5319 or (310) 393-7593; visit www.santamonica.com; or email info@santamonica.com. Follow SMTT on Twitter @GoSantaMonica or become a Facebook fan at www.facebook.com/visitsantamonica.

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Contacts: Jackie Alvarez
Santa Monica Travel & Tourism
310-319-6263
Jalvarez@santamonica.com