Salesforce’s annual Dreamforce convention in San Francisco — which last year attracted just 1,500 attendees as crime and COVID deterred attendance — expects to bring in more than 25,000 people this year, The Post has learned.
That’s a far cry from the more than 170,000 people who attended Dreamforce pre-COVID, but nevertheless a signal for hope that San Francisco’s viability as a destination for business is poised for a comeback ahead of the September event, sources said.
Salesforce, headed by billionaire Marc Benioff, is hoping for a rebound after a herd of tech executives fled the Bay area during the pandemic. Last month, top venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz announced it will hold onto its Silicon Valley real estate but focus on expanding in Miami, Los Angeles, and New York.
San Francisco office vacancies remains around 25% and one-third of the city’s workforce has fled to work remotely since the outbreak of coronavirus.
Over the last year, Salesforce, which formerly owned more office space than any other company, has listed almost half its office space for leasing as an increasing number of employees push to work remotely. The company has even shuttered its flagship Salesforce building on Fridays
The September Salesforce event, sources told The Post, could be seen as a bellwether for the future of conferences in the crime-ridden city and a measure of how successful the city is in bringing business back.
Salesforce declined to comment.
Another significant data point for the city will be whether or not the annual JPMorgan health conference will be in person this year. The Post reported that last year Wall Street execs were ‘pleading’ for JPMorgan to cancel its event as crime surged in San Francisco.
At the time, high-level Wall Street executives claimed to be spooked by the thought of attending the in-person conference at the Westin St. Francis on San Francisco’s Union Square. They pointed to a crime spree — with marauding gangs ransacking high-end stores, including Nordstrom, Louis Vuitton and Burberry.
The conference was held virtually after a surge in coronavirus cases from omicron swept across the nation — and executives quietly breathed a sigh of relief.
While The Post has yet to confirm the conference will take place in San Francisco again, sources said the bank is leaning toward reviving the event in person.
San Francisco Mayor London Breed — who is painting herself as “at war” with rampant crime in the hopes of luring back conferences and business travel — is telling the business community her No. 1 concern is reining in crime to make the city safe for business and travel.
At the annual California Hotel Conference that brings investors, asset managers, and hotel executives together, Breed highlighted her relationship with Benioff, who helms the city’s largest employer.
“I just got off the phone with Marc Benioff,” Breed told attendees. “We’re trying to help him find hotel rooms for the conferences — anyone who can help reach out,” she asked guests in the hopes of getting as many people to attend as possible.
The mayor has been on a charm offensive with business leaders — at the conference she emphasized safety as the requirement for bringing business and tourism back. Business leaders are lapping it up, according to people who heard her speak.
“I think the mayor gets it,” one source told The Post. “She’s reaching out to convention planners and saying we’re open for business.”
“I was impressed by the mayor — she takes it seriously,” another conference attendee added.
In the last few weeks alone, the city has made seismic changes — progressive district attorney Chesa Boudin, who became infamous for being “easy on crime,” was ousted in July and in just announced he will not run for his seat again.
San Francisco’s new District Attorney Brooke Jenkins has taken a tough stance on crime.