Chicago Tops U.S. Meeting Destinations, Survey Says

Development Counsellors International, which conducted the survey of meeting planners, also looked at factors that influence an organization’s choice of destination.

Meeting planners and convention bureaus take note.

Chicago, San Diego, San Francisco, Las Vegas, and New York are the top meeting destinations in the United States, according to a new survey by Development Counsellors International (DCI).

Competition among meeting locations is fierce. It’s more important than ever for destination-marketing organizations to understand their audiences.

The survey comes out weeks after two major tradeshows re-upped their event contracts in the Windy City.

Those surveyed listed London, Barcelona, Paris, Singapore, and Hong Kong as the top international meeting destinations. However, as a nation, Italy got the top vote, followed by the United Kingdom and Spain.

The study, which surveyed 187 North American meeting planners, also looked at the decision-making factors behind destination selection.

“Competition among meeting locations is fierce,” Karyl Leigh Barnes, DCI senior vice president and partner, said in a statement. “It’s more important than ever for destination-marketing organizations to understand their audiences. Our objective was to determine best practices in our industry by going directly to the meeting industry’s ‘customer.’”

“A View from Meeting Planners: Winning Strategies in Destination Marketing” reported that when selecting a meeting destination, planners primarily rely on convention bureaus for information, and 67 percent of respondents said they preferred to receive information from CVBs by email.

DCI also identified the top three ways to influence meeting planners:  target the top decision makers in an organization (in most cases the board of directors), put in appropriate face time with planners at tradeshows and workshops, and host familiarization trips to destinations.

Boards were listed as the primary decision makers behind meeting destinations by 48 percent of respondents, while 28 percent said CEOs made the final decision.

When choosing a new location, meeting planners reported that meeting face-to-face with destination marketers had the most influence on their decision, and 72 percent said familiarization trips are important or very important when choosing a meeting destination.


(photo by Bernt Rostad/Flickr)

Katie Bascuas

By Katie Bascuas

Katie Bascuas is associate editor of Associations Now. MORE

Got an article tip for us? Contact us and let us know!