On Thursday, event management software company Cvent named the Top Meeting Destinations in a press release for the seventh year running. While many are big event cities expected on such a list, some may have been surprises to even veteran planners and each was named because of a specific appeal for groups.
“The cities featured in this year’s Top Destinations lists have invested significant time, energy, and resources into building premier locations that entice organizations, large and small, to plan meetings and events in their areas,” Chris McAndrews, vice president of marketing for Cvent Hospitality Cloud, said in a press release.
Cvent evaluated more than 11,000 cities in its supplier network on a variety of factors, including the number of request for proposals received, total room nights requested through those RFPs, awarded room nights, percentage of qualified meeting venues in the destination and number of profile views.
The company added three new regions to its list this year: The Caribbean and Latin America, Canada and Europe. Here are the top destinations in the United States and some notes on why planners can’t stay away.
10. San Francisco
Don’t let the fog overshadow the city’s 360 venues, all connectable by a handful of public transportation options or within walking distance. The nearly 1.4 million sq. ft. of event space at Moscone Center will boast new amenities and introduce new spaces by the end of 2018.
9. Washington, D.C.
Capitalize on D.C.’s Michelin-starred restaurants, Forbes 5-star hotels and museums-turned-meeting spaces. Add in 2.2 million sq. ft. of convention center space, and the CVB’s website deals for planners looking to book event services.
8. New York
The meeting spaces in the Big Apple have adopted the city’s spirit of leading innovation, including the Javits Center, with its more than 7 million sq. ft. of event space and continuous sustainability efforts. Its green roof nests two dozen bird species, honeybees and bats.
7. Nashville, Tennessee
This eclectic city’s portfolio of venues should be music to your ears, ranging from first-class restaurants, to wax museums to distilleries with classic Southern charm. Some 169 hotels and 2.2 million sq. ft. of convention center space help secure its top 10 spot.
Good news for meeting planners—everything’s bigger in Texas, including the dollar stretch. However, the hospitality space is no less adequate. VisitDallas saw record sales and tourism numbers last year, with 27.2 million visitors. The future is also looking bright, especially for the hotel industry. Eighteen hotels recently opened, and 37 hotel projects are in the works.
Nearly 140 hotels and more than 100 venues dominate this city, giving a meeting planner plenty of options. You can now visit Atlanta without leaving the office, with its 360-degree virtual reality tool.
4. San Diego
The more than 90 seaside venues in San Diego are awash with elegance, including the San Diego Convention Center, which is surrounded by more than 13,000 hotel rooms.
Prepare to be blown away by the Windy City’s historical and exciting venues. With 177 hotels and 3.2 million sq. ft. of convention center space, Chicago accommodates groups small and big.
2. Las Vegas
Sin City weaves entertainment into every possible moment—including business meetings. The billion-dollar expansion of Las Vegas Convention Center will add 1.4 million sq. ft. of meeting space, including exhibit space as vibrant as the city.
1. Orlando, Florida
Disney magic spreads to its neighboring city, as well. Orlando is home to one of the largest convention centers in the country, with more than 2.1 million sq. ft. of meeting space and over 120,000 guest rooms at all price points.