Some of the bigger destinations on the list are obvious, but there is a lot of movement among smaller, less high-profile cities. In many ways, this movement comes down to what investments a destination makes into infrastructure and experiences.
An increasing number of locations in Asia have secured a place on Cvent’s 2019 list of top destinations for events and meetings, collected from booking activity in the 11,000 cities available on the company’s sourcing sites.
Cvent releases the list yearly, and although many of the major events cities worldwide remained unchanged from last year, a handful of new destinations from around the globe made it onto the list for the first time. The majority of these were in Asia, where there has been the most growth in terms of online booking activity, according to the company.
“We’re seeing increased growth in the use of online tools to book, and this isn’t just with Cvent but across platforms, via search engines and online reviews,” said Chris McAndrews, vice president of marketing for Cvent Hospitality Cloud. “In certain regions, this move online is not as far along as it is in North America or parts of Europe. But it’s coming. We’re seeing a lot of growth out of Singapore and other parts of Asia.”
In fact, this is the first year Cvent was able to split Asia-Pacific into two regions – Asia, and then Australia & Oceania – because of an increase in data for the region. Osaka, Japan; Shenzhen, China; Hanoi, Vietnam; and Pasay City, Philippines were just a few of the new destinations in Asia to make the list.
The company looked at several metrics to come up with its rankings, measuring not only the number of events a city hosted, but also the amount of interest event planners showed in the destination. This meant counting how many different requests for proposal the destination received, as well as how many profile views it got, along with the number of contracts it ultimately won and how many room nights booked.
The study also measured how suitable a destination was as a hub for events, tallying up the percentage of hotels that were qualified to accommodate meetings.
Beirut, Lebanon was one of the cities that gained the most this year, coming in at number seven out of 10 cities in the Middle East & Africa region. Previously it had not been on the list at all. Europe also saw a few new cities, with Edinburgh, Istanbul, and Warsaw cracking the top 50.
In the U.S., Coronado and Napa, two cities in California, were also new to the list, along with Cleveland, Ohio. Meanwhile, Orlando and Las Vegas remained in the top two spots for another year.
“There are a few common denominators that we typically will find when we look into some of these movements,” McAndrews said, explaining why some cities moved up significantly. “Perhaps there are one or two major hotels in a city, which after being under renovation for a couple years have reopened and really attracted a lot of interest.”
“Another reason is infrastructure. Is it efficient in terms of the transportation from an airport to the destination? Also, are there lower costs associated with that destination?”
Many smaller, up-and-coming destinations are investing in experiences to differentiate themselves from other cities, McAndrews added. Offerings outside of the main hotel property, like restaurants and landmarks, have become increasingly important to event planners.
On top of this, some smaller cities have been able to garner more interest by hosting high-profile events. Cleveland, for example, hosted the 2016 Republican National Convention, which gained it a lot of publicity as a location able to accommodate a large number of visitors, McAndrews said.
“One of the most exciting things about this list is it’s becoming more dynamic.”
2019 Top 10 Event Destinations by Region
|Las Vegas, Nevada
|Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
|San Diego, California
|Seoul, South Korea
|New York, New York
|Prague, Czech Republic
|Caribbean & Latin America
|Middle East & Africa
|Dubai, United Arab Emirates
|Playa del Carmen, Mexico
|Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
|Vancouver, British Columbia
|Cape Town, South Africa
|Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
|Johannesburg, South Africa
|San Juan, Puerto Rico
|Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
|San José del Cabo, Mexico
|Montego Bay, Jamaica
|Québec City, Québec
|Mexico City, Mexico
|Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
|Ras Al Khaimah, United Arab Emirates
|Whistler, British Columbia
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Photo credit: View of Manila Skyline from Mall of Asia in Pasay City, Philippines. Wayne S. Grazio / Flickr