Best Cities for Meetings

A total of 730 veteran meeting-planner professionals participated in the eighth biennial survey by the Watkins Research Group, the results of which are now being released.

Some key findings:

Top Destinations

While the study reveals a variety of attributes that can be “tie breakers” or “deal makers,” planners evaluated North American cities in terms of their capability to hold meetings mostly based on these attributes:

  • Are the hotels well-suited and situated for large meetings?
  • How easy is it to get to the city?
  • Once there, how easy is it to get into and around the city?
  • What’s the city’s reputation for providing an all-around great convention experience?
  • Will the delegates feel “safe and secure” where they are in the city?
  • Is the city known for having superior convention center facilities?
  • What is the impression of the quality of the services in the convention center?
  • Is the destination’s CVB/ DMO considered “superior” in making the event and experience an easy success?

Here are the top dozen destinations (of the 46 cities evaluated this year and in alphabetical order) perceived to deliver what the planners value most:

  • Boston
  • Denver
  • Indianapolis
  • Minneapolis
  • Montreal
  • Orlando
  • Salt Lake City
  • San Antonio
  • San Diego
  • Seattle
  • Toronto
  • Vancouver

Cities on the Move

Based on improvements in scores since the last survey, the following are considered “cities on the move.” Some improved enough in two years to be named to the “Top Destinations” list:

  • Boston
  • Chicago
  • Dallas
  • Detroit
  • Kansas City
  • Los Angeles
  • Louisville
  • Miami
  • Milwaukee
  • Montreal
  • Philadelphia
  • St. Louis

Booking Horizons

How many years in advance of your largest meeting do you sign and commit to space?

Best Cities for Meetings

SOURCE: Based on the Watkins Report of the 2012 survey of meeting planners. The copyrighted full report is made available via subscription only to bona fide CVB or DMOs for use within their own organizations for strategic planning and marketing.

Subscribers review strength and weakness profiles for their own city as well as for all of the other cities evaluated in each survey. Cities are included for evaluation in the study either by being a co-sponsor, or by a co-sponsor requesting to have a competitive cities included in the list of cities evaluated.

For information on obtaining a copy of the 2012 report or being a co-sponsor of the next survey and report, contact A summary of findings of the 2012 report has been provided to all planners who completed the survey.

Convene Editors