Meet The Staff- Martha Laos

Martha Laos
Associate Director of Sales – Corporate Travel
21 years of service

“We strive to make your stay with us an experience
that fosters success and keeps you focused on your business goals”

For information on the Hilton Universal City’s Corporate Travel Program, please contact Martha directly.


Meet The Staff – Robyn Monks

Robyn Monks
Atrium Lounge Bartender
7 years of service

“I love my job because I get to visit with our guests when they want to have good time. I’m like the Fun Aunt.”

Bring The Holidays to Your Office

As the holiday season makes it’s way into our busy schedule it’s time to plan the office holiday party. This year, it doesn’t have to be the same old party.  Liven it up with a fun spin your office holiday party.  We’ve put together to some party ideas to help you create a sensational office holiday party.

Plan a Theme

A themed office holiday party is a fun way for colleagues to relax and enjoy themselves. Here are a few holiday party theme ideas.

Around the World – There are many cultures represented in our workplace.   Invite colleagues to bring their favorite dish to share.  Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Diwali, Eid, are all celebrated in the fall and winter seasons. Incorporate decorations from a variety of holidays.  It’s a great way to learn more about your colleagues and their traditions.

Murder Mystery – So it’s not a classic Christmas or Holiday theme, but it’s a lot of fun.  Choose a specific time period like the 1920′s, or Hollywood in the 40′s and ask guests to dress up in costume.  A murder mystery party is a fun way to have a little escape from the reality of the daily grind.

Holiday Sweater Party –  A holiday sweater party is the best excuse to bring out those old holiday sweaters in the back of your closet.   It’s good for a laugh and the sweaters serve as an icebreaker and conversation piece.

Gift Exchange Ideas

A Holiday gift exchange can be entertaining and create memories for years to come. Creating a theme will help co workers when shopping for their gift. We have list a few below but the list is limited only by your imagination.

Christmas Coffee Mug Exchange-Everyone in the office could use a new mug. Whether they drink coffe or water the office will have a festive feel with Christmas coffee cups on everyone’s desk.

Something Edible Gift Exchange-Everyone loves snacks to get them through their day. Bake some cookies or a batch of fudge for your gift. If you are baking challenged, a quick trip to your local bakery will do the trick.

Very Cheap Gift Exchange-For this gift exchange, you set a price from $1-$5 to spend on the gift. Instruct everyone to buy a useful gift that is not above the price. You’ll be amazed and entertained at everyone’s ideas!

Share The Holidays

Too busy this year to plan your Holiday party? Is a holiday party not in your company budget? Let us throw the party for you! No matter how big or small your business, your team deserves a celebration. Treat them to a fun filled Holiday Party with Share The Holidays at The Hilton Universal Hotel.

Culinary treats will delight your palette and warm your heart. Classic entrees combined with signature items, including:

Prime Rib & Seafood Dinner Buffet:
Seafood on Ice & Prime Rib
Turkey, Ham, and Holiday Entrees
Holiday Desserts
International Coffee Station
Complimentary Glass of Wine with Dinner
Cash bar also available with discounted drinks.

For reservation or inquiry please contact our Catering Team, Tammy Su at 818-509-2062 or email

Congrats to All 2011 Graduates

Graduation season has officially begun! From college to high school, graduates are celebrating to commemorate such an amazing accomplishment. With the weather getting warmer, and grills coming out of hibernation, what better way to celebrate than with a backyard get-together?

Throwing the perfect outdoor party doesn’t have to be a hassle. With a foolproof menu and a few helpful tips, you’ll be able to pull off the ultimate graduation party without breaking a sweat.

When creating your graduation menu remember two things: seasonal and simple. While it’s fun to try new recipes, create the bulk of your menu with classics from your cooking arsenal, and fill in the holes with newer dishes. This will help cut down on the stress of new recipe success in the kitchen. And don’t forget to work ahead!


  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon steak sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon cider vinegar
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 4 slices process American cheese
  • 4 hamburger buns, split
  • 8 cooked bacon strips
  • Optional toppings: lettuce leaves and tomato and onion slices


  • In a large bowl, combine the first seven ingredients. Crumble beef over mixture and mix well. Shape into four patties.
  • Grill burgers, covered, over medium heat or broil 4 in. from the heat for 5-7 minutes on each side or until a meat thermometer reads 160° and juices run clear. Top with cheese. Grill 1 minute longer or until cheese is melted. Serve on buns with bacon and toppings of your choice. Yield: 4 servings. 

Nutrition Facts:  1 burger (calculated without optional toppings) equals 472 calories, 25 g fat (10 g saturated fat), 98 mg cholesterol, 947 mg sodium, 27 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 33 g protein.

Graduation Caps Recipe



  • Remove paper liners from peanut butter cups; place upside down on waxed paper. Place a small amount of frosting on each peanut butter cup; center a mint on each. Using frosting, make a loop for each cap’s tassel. Place an M&M on top of each loop. Yield: 2 dozen. 

Nutrition Facts: 1 serving (1 each) equals 92 calories, 3 g fat (1 g saturated fat), trace cholesterol, 136 mg sodium, 15 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 1 g protein.

 Decorations & Invitation Ideas

Create a gorgeous buffet with long wooden tables covered in summery tablecloths. Use old books or pots and pans to place underneath your dishes to add height to the table. Trifle bowls are the perfect vessel for salads, while tiered platters and apothecary jars are ideal for baked goods and sweets. Have more time with your Grad and let us take care of the event for you. Contact our Catering dept for more information


Meeting Planner 411: The Importance of Event Photography

Meeting Monday:

Today features an article from Smart Meetings Magazine’s very own Mr. Smart E. Pants and his response to an inquiring meeting planner regarding event photography.


Meeting event space at the Hilton Los Angeles / Universal City hotel

Dear Mr. Smart E. Pants,

I’m figuring out my budget for next year and wanted your perspective on event photography. Do you think professional photography is a priority for event planners?


Helena Peterson
Atlanta, Georgia


Dear Helena,

I think hiring a professional photographer completely depends on what type of event you’re hosting. For example, most of our events are featured in our magazine and require high-resolution photos; so, for us, it makes sense. We also use the photos in our marketing materials.

If you host attendance-driven events like I do, it’s important to have quality photos that you can use to promote the event. However, if you’re hosting an annual meeting that focuses on educational sessions, professional photography doesn’t matter as much; plus, attendees are required to attend. Note: association members aren’t required to attend their annual meetings; they choose whether or not to attend, and have to pay their own way.

One way to cut back on your professional photography budget is to hire local photographers instead of flying in staff members from the photography company you work with in your area. A lot of companies are also willing to work out partnerships, giving you discount rates to advertise at your event. I do advocate, however, that if you are looking for photographers in another location, you should get recommendations from the CVBs or hotels you’re working with for your event. The last thing you want is to pay big bucks or endorse the photographer and have them come up short.

Lately, I’ve been using both Specialty Imaging International and Orange Photography, for different reasons. Specialty Imaging is more focused on incentive meetings. For instance, they offer various ways to create a unique name badge; they help us interact with attendees on our social media pages; and they have photo kiosks for our attendees to print out their own images. Orange Photography, on the other hand, has lots of experience at a variety of functions. They have a unique style for receptions, and they even offer on-site photo booths.

No matter what you decide to do, the bottom line is that you want to make your events look attractive. If you use marketing materials to advertise your events, I suggest hiring a professional that’ll portray them at their best. If your educational seminars on their own are impressive enough to get people to attend, then maybe photography isn’t something you need to have eating up your budget. Either way, good luck in the coming year!


Mr. Smart E. Pants


Mr. Smart E. Pants is none other than the energetic meeting and event manager Benton Partin. With a diverse background and 10 years of planning experience, Benton brings a unique and creative approach to meetings management. Have a burning question for Mr. Smart E. Pants? E-mail him at

As seen in Issue: Smart Meetings November 2010