Our experience at the 2022 SLO Cal Luxury forum
In October we attended the SLO Cal Luxury Forum 2022. It was an event jointly organised by Connections Luxury and Visit California. With a few hundred attendees, it was the first one to be in-person since the beginning of the pandemic.
Connections’ ethos is inspired by science, and more precisely the works of the Nobel prize winner and neurologist Eric Kandel. According to his findings, nothing is remembered without emotions. They bring this idea to networking, which is done over activities tailored to the attendees with the aid of personality tests.
SLO Cal is simply the name of the tourism board of San Luis Obispo. And locals don’t use the full name. Coincidence or not, it has a very slow and laid back vibe.
Why San Luis Obispo?
Most of the people attending were trade professionals who got to discover all the fantastic things San Luis Obispo has to offer. The selection was done upon reviewing bids made by the different sub-regions of California to Visit California. Located between LA and San Francisco, the area is a true gem that has yet to be discovered by the wider audience. With its rolling hills, majestic coastal views, and lush nature trails, it has plenty to offer.
Furthermore, it is home to some of the state’s oldest and most renowned wineries. It is known for its cool climate and long growing season. This contributes to the production of high-quality wines from grapes ranging from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir to Syrah, Zinfandel, and more. The county produces some of the best Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays in the state, as well as a wide variety of other red and white wines.
Finally, there is a certification label called SLO Cal Crafted which rewards locals artists, farmers, and crafters. It is a way for the consumers or travellers to identify genuinely local products. You can click on this link to have a list of the businesses that have the label). On our first evening, the hotel street was closed off for a private street market. We got to try incredible food, beautiful wine (that pinot noir…). And were given tokens for us to bring home some of local crafts. Great stuff!
Our schedule : relaxing and thrilling
As part of the press group, we had a slightly different schedule. We were an integral part of the event with breakfasts and dinner with the rest of the forum, but we then were catered for as a group by the expert hands of Visit Slo Cal and Visit California.
It was a great mix of laid-back moments and thrilling activities. The timing was perfect as we never felt rushed at any point. We were incredibly fortunate to have a private visit of the Hearst Castle from the Head of Marketing and PR. We also got to do an extreme jeep ride on the dunes at Morro Bay (I still find sand in my camera equipment to this day). This was proceeded by a private yacht ride, lunch and s’mores on the beach and oyster tasting (raw and BBQ’d – a first for me, incredible).
We’ll be back…
In a nutshell, it was the trip of a lifetime. So we’ll definitely be back again before SLO becomes one of the most visited areas of California – which it definitely will.
Needless to say that the event exceeded our expectations. And we are aware that next time we attend a forum we’ll have to not cling on to the memory of the SLO Cal Luxury Forum as it will most likely not be able to match that level of expectations. Unless it’s next year and organised by Visit California!