Once upon a time, Laguna hotels were filled in the winter with Canadians. But the snowbirds from the north began flocking to Las Vegas, leaving Laguna's hotels with more vacancies than visitors from the end of summer to the beginning of June.
What to do?
Frustrated Laguna's hoteliers came up with the notion to publicize the city as more than a day at the beach — a destination resort — and turned to the Chamber of Commerce for funding. Led by the late Claes Andersen, hotel owners and managers originally saw themselves as a committee of the chamber, but a series of increasingly uncooperative meetings convinced the rebels that the chamber was not on the same page.
In 1986, the group incorporated as the Hospitality Assn. of Laguna Beach, which does business as the Laguna Beach Visitors and Conference Bureau. Andersen served as president for the first two years. Jerry Siegel and Surf & Sand Chief Financial Officer Manager Gordon Carter were the board members.