At a recent conference for business-event planners, executives from four hotel-ownership companies sat on stage and presented the ugly truth: Costs for just about every element of group events are up a lot compared to pre-pandemic days. What’s more, those executives say that today’s elevated rates are not a temporary blip, but rather the foundation for future prices.

Especially at hotels and convention centers in the top 25 cities in America (known as “first-tier” destinations), the costs for labor, food and beverage, energy, and other items have gone up between 20 and 30 percent over the past four years—far above the rate of general inflation. And as event planners nationwide will attest, their budgets have not risen anywhere near 20 percent in the last few years.

On the other hand, there is at least one destination where business events, faith groups, military reunions, sports tournaments, and others can have a great experience without worrying about blowing up their budgets or charging attendees a lot more than they did in the past.

That destination is Northern Kentucky, and here are just some of the reasons why that’s the case:

NKY’s central location and well-served airport make event travel easy. Stefanie Wyckoff, Director of Convention Sales for the Northern Kentucky Convention & Visitors Bureau—also known as meetNKY—points out that nearly 40 percent of the U.S. population lives within an eight-hour drive of the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky metro area. In addition, the average round-trip airfare for Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport is just $346, more than $20 lower than the national average.


With the international airport just 12 miles from the Northern Kentucky Convention Center, the cost of getting from the airport to the convention district in Covington is small.


The Northern Kentucky Convention Center is known for its reasonable rates for various event elements, including its food and beverage. For instance, a gallon of coffee—which can be $150 at hotels and event venues in many large cities—is less than $60 at NKYCC. You can check out the center’s full catering menu and its friendly prices here.

Another NKYCC budget benefit: There’s free WiFi throughout the center, helping to keep down audiovisual costs while making the attendee experience smooth and easy.


The neighborhoods surrounding Covington’s convention district—including Roebling Point, Madison Street, and Mainstrasse Village—each have a variety of restaurants that offer local flavor at good prices. And getting to those neighborhoods is easy and inexpensive, because the Southbank Trolley System operates nearby to all those neighborhoods and costs only $1. The trolley even crosses the Ohio River and runs through downtown Cincinnati, giving event attendees several more restaurant choices. Then again, that district is an easy walk from the NKY Convention Center across the Roebling Bridge—a no-cost adventure!



With all of these financial advantages available in a centrally-located destination with great hotels and gathering spaces plus a unique history and culture, it’s clear that Northern Kentucky should be on the radar of any event planner looking to deliver a great experience without busting the budget.