President & CEO, Long Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau
Steve Goodling has led the Long Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau (LBCVB) toward a path of innovation and modernization for nearly two decades. His background in hospitality stems from joining Marriott International when the company only had 100 hotels worldwide. He then progressed to Shangri-La Hotels, a Hong Kong-based company operating luxury resorts and hotels throughout the world. Steve helped to foster a strong customer centric focus in Long Beach and convention planners have responded positively to the results. Northstar Meetings Group, which publishes Meetings & Conventions and Successful Meetings magazines with readerships of 34,000 and 72,000 respectively, has awarded the LBCVB as “Best in the West” for the last six years. The LBCVB won the Gold award five out of six years (winning silver once) for the Best CVB in the region with only one winner per category, beating out such great competition such as Los Angeles, Anaheim, San Diego, San Francisco, and Anaheim. These honors were also earned by the Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center for the past five years . . . earning “Gold” each time.
In 2022, the Long Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau took home the prestigious PCMA Chairman’s Award for the Americas, recognized alongside recipients from Germany and Singapore. This is the highest honor PCMA bestows, and is given annually to an organization for its unique achievements or contributions to the meetings industry in the previous year. PCMA is the world’s largest association for meeting planners.
Long Beach was selected for the award due to its efforts to house migrant children at the Convention Center during the summer of 2021, going above and beyond to ensure that they were not only safe and well cared for, but that they had a wealth of enrichment activities and resources. At the request of the Mayor and City, which in short term amassed more than 100,000 donations for the children. What further impressed the judges was that the CVB led the CVB creating a marketing campaign, designed an infrastructure program with hotels, handled the logistics of delivering them to center,
By hosting the TED Conference for several years, Steve accessed and incorporated many of their future forward concepts and deployed those into creating three “turnkey” special event spaces. The new Pacific Ballroom, the Cove, and the Terrace Theater Plaza. All have permanent LED stage lighting, rigging, etc., thus saving convention clients significant amounts of money in creating special events. This concept allowed associations with limited budgets to host corporate style events at a significant savings, and they then put these savings back into a higher quality food experience. It also allowed convention planners to fulfill another major trend desired by their attendees, an “Instagramable” and unique experience, not to be found anywhere else. Both convention planners and clients loved the new venues, as well as the local Long Beach community, which began to have many fundraising events in these venues.
Being the first in the industry with this concept, this innovation gained national attention and Steve was recognized by Venues Today and indoctrinated into their Hall of Fame.
Steve has also been recognized as one of the “Top 25 Most Influential People in the Meetings Industry” by Successful Meetings magazine, a leading industry publication, which touted Long Beach and Steve as a “Trailblazer.” In addition, BizBash magazine, a leading publication focused on large-scale special events, inducted Steve into its prestigious Hall of Fame.
Due to Covid and the acceleration of the adaption of virtual digital technologies, Steve’s newest venture is converting the entire convention center campus to an interactive broadcast experience . . . bringing together convention attendees remotely as well as those around the world to participate in a Long Beach based convention. This effort was recently recognized in Successful Meetings for being the first convention center to do so in the nation.
Steve has been highly engaged in the community and has served on various boards such as Musica Angelica, International City Theater, CCEJ (the CA Center for Equality and Justice) and the Ukleja Center for Ethical Leadership at California State University Long Beach.