Skift Report: The Rise of Midsize Cities in the Meetings Industry
More and more meeting planners are looking toward midsize cities to host their programs. Many groups are getting priced out of the larger metropolitan areas as rates for hotel rooms, meeting venues, food and beverage, and other ancillary spend increases incrementally every year. At the same time, midsize cities from Calgary to Stuttgart have undergone sweeping urban revitalization efforts, building up their infrastructure and transportation links. They’ve increased airlift, hotel and venue capacity, and enhanced their visitor experience exponentially.
The result of these shifts is that for some destinations, being a midsize city is no longer necessarily a negative for attracting events. Midsize destinations have easily navigable downtown footprints. They often have a unique visitor experience or local vibe that’s not easily duplicated elsewhere. More than anything, midsize cities are more affordable, and local leaders in both the public and private sectors go further out of their way to service groups because they appreciate the business.
Today, cities like Portland, Nashville and Bristol are rising on the global meetings stage because they can now provide a more complete package for planners at more affordable rates. Many midsize cities are no longer satisfied to be perceived as “second-tier’ destinations. The result? Between the world’s big cities with their unrivaled infrastructure, experience and mature support services and the rise of the mid-sized cities, planners have more choice and more scope than ever.
Destinations featured: Aberdeen (Scotland), Albuquerque, Bristol, Calgary (Canada), Chattanooga, Cleveland, Holland, Monterey, Nashville, Newcastle, Portland, Raleigh, Stuttgart (Germany), Victoria (Canada), and many more.
In this report:
- How midsize cities and their convention bureaus are positioning business events to drive long-term business outcomes for both visiting groups and local communities
- How cities like Nashville and Portland integrate their unique stories and local culture into meetings
- How midsize cities are leveraging their sector expertise and becoming innovation incubators
- Interviews and insights from dozens of meeting planners and destination leaders
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