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August 12, 2014

Cvent Announces Top 50 U.S. Cities for Events; Chicago Claims Top Spot

Kevin Fliess

Cvent, the cloud-based enterprise event management platform, revealed its third annual list of the top 50 cities for meetings and events in the United States.

While many of the major players from last year’s list were back in the top 10, there were some notable changes. This year, Chicago claimed first place, climbing from second place last year and fifth place two years ago. Orlando, which had been at the top of the list in 2013, dropped to second, while Las Vegas held steady at third.  

RELATED: Orlando, Chicago, Las Vegas Top Cvent's Destination List

The top 10 cities are:

1.     Chicago, IL
2.     Orlando, FL
3.     Las Vegas, NV
4.     Atlanta, GA
5.     San Diego, CA
6.     New York, NY
7.     Dallas, TX
8.     Washington, D.C.
9.     New Orleans, LA
10.   Nashville, TN
See the full list of the top 50 cities here.

Willis Tower and the Chicago River 

Midwest Rising

Kevin Fliess, vice president Product Marketing at Cvent Supplier Network, told International Meetings Review that the central United States saw notable growth in popularity, reflected in Chicago’s rise to the top. This, he said, could be credited to two elements: “Number one is the cost-competitiveness of the midwest relative to both coasts,” he said, “from lower hotel rates to lower average daily rates for food and beverage.” Location--and the correlating accessibility--is the other main factor: Chicago is within three hours of 90 percent of most of the major metro areas, he noted. “That makes it convenient for association meetings and large groups,” he said.

Other midwestern cities also saw notable jumps in the list. St. Louis, MO, made the biggest leap, rising eight spots to 27. Louisville, KY, broke into the list for the first time at 45; Nashville rose four spots to number 10 on the list; and New Orleans rose three to number nine. (Beyond accessibility from both coasts, Fliess said, New Orleans is a perennial destination for meetings and events, which he credits to “the unique character of the city.”)  

Planners like to rotate destinations for major events, Fliess continued, so some of the shifts may be due to keeping shows fresh. Nearly 10 years after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, he said, New Orleans has seen investment in infrastructure and overall improvements, so it is now more appealing to planners who may have avoided the city for the better part of the last decade. 

Nashville, meanwhile, has the year-old Music City Center and the 10-month old , $250-million Omni hotel with 800 guestrooms, both of which have attracted attention from large-scale groups. The Omni hosted the American Express Travel National Summit last fall, and the city will host the American Society of Association Executives this year.  “It’s on the radar of meeting planners and association event planners,” Fliess said, praising the city’s music heritage and increased culinary popularity. “It’s definitely one of the more affordable destinations, and it has a very vibrant infrastructure.” 

What Makes a Top Event City

So what makes a city appealing for large-scale meetings and events? Fliess feels that people care more now about what goes on outside of the convention center or boardroom, and that demand to go beyond four walls is driving growth in  previously overlooked cities. “We’re moving into the experience economy,  where it’s not just about having an agenda and putting on an event," he said. "It's about creating experiences and stories and memories for attendees." 

The "perfect recipe" for a meeting city, he continued, is being able to provide a great experience at a fair price, allowing the attendee to enjoy everything a destination has to offer. Nashville, Fliess said, is experiencing a renaissance because it has plenty to offer beyond its convention center and hotels. Nashville and its fellow burgeoning cities have something "culturally interesting to offer attendees," he added, "which is local flair. And that's what creates a perfect meeting venue: a combination of modern infrastructure at a reasonable cost with great cultural connection. 
Cvent evaluated more than 5,000 U.S. cities featured on the Cvent Supplier Network to compile the third annual list. Activity was tracked from July 2013 to June 2014 and the ranking was then determined by a set of qualifying criteria consisting of:
·         Unique Request For Proposals Received
·         Total Room Nights
·         Awarded Request For Proposals
·         Awarded Room Nights
·         Percentage of Qualified Meeting Venues
·         Number of Profile Views
With more than 218,000 hotels and special event venues, the Cvent Supplier Network is one of the world's largest databases of detailed venue information. It contains listings of hotels and other venues in more than 175 countries that can be searched and filtered based on approximately 200 characteristics and data fields. Suppliers can also  reach new customers among the tens of thousands of meeting planners who use the Cvent Supplier Network, helping hotels maximize their existing sales and marketing resources. Additionally, Cvent's Destination Guide provides convention and visitors bureaus and suppliers an additional channel for building awareness among meeting planners with profiles of more than 1,000 destinations globally, giving planners access to destination-specific information and key statistics.

Photo courtesy Choose Chicago and Cesar Russ Photography

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About the Author: Jena Tesse Fox

Jena Tesse Fox





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