News & Views

Taking Home the Gold: Which Destinations are Winning Over Meeting Planners?

As competition among Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs) becomes stronger and smarter, which cities are winning planners over for their upcoming business events — and why? We recently launched the second edition of A View from Meeting Planners, Winning Strategies in Destination Marketing, expanding upon the 2012 survey for a closer look at planner perceptions today. The results of the survey give a direct look into what influences the planner’s path to purchase and destination selection.


Europe Takes the Lead

The results are in, and European cities dominate the list of the Best Cities for International Meetings! London holds onto its ranking from 2012 as the most preferred international city, with newcomers Dublin and Amsterdam following in the rankings.

Paradoxically, Paris ranks as the second most favorable destination and the third least favorable destination, as planners expressed concern that Paris is too expensive, unfriendly, and subject to too many labor strikes.

Big City Sun

When it comes to North American cities, meeting planners have a focus on big urban centers! In order of preference, holding on to their top 5 rankings from 2012, planners’ top five U.S. cities for meetings include San Francisco, Chicago, New York City, San Diego, and Las Vegas. San Francisco made a leap from its number three ranking in 2012 to the most preferred U.S. destination, according to the latest survey.

With 88% of planners indicating the importance of FAM trips for influencing destination perceptions, 35% rate summer as the best season to participate. DMOs should focus on conducting FAM trips during the North American summer months.

Meeting planners expressed differing opinions about the country’s bustling metropolises, with several cities ranking on both the most and least favorable lists, including New York City, Las Vegas and San Francisco. When critiquing these cities, planners mentioned that the cities were too expensive, have high labor costs, or in the case of Las Vegas, have too many distractions.

Differentiating from the Competition

There is a strong correlation among meeting planners between the most favored DMOs and top-ranking cities. Ultimately, a key factor in influencing planner perceptions of a destination comes down to a personal relationship. The DMOs with the strongest positive relationships with planners, through direct face-to-face communication and consistent email contact, are the destinations that planners prefer.

DMOs should also keep in mind the following factors that are most important to planners when selecting a host destination:

  • Cost Of Meeting Space/Hotel In A Destination
  • Ease Of Flight Accessibility From The US Or Canada
  • Safety & Security
  • “Wow” Factor
  • Ease Of Flight Accessibility For Attendees Outside US/Canada
  • Support Of Local Members/Companies

For additional insights, download your free copy of A View from Meeting Planners: Winning Strategies in Destination Marketing here.

Written By

Daniella Middleton

Daniella Middleton is a Senior Vice President in the Tourism Practice, leading strategy and directing digital marketing strategies, influencer marketing partnerships, and MICE / business events marketing and sales.

More Articles by Daniella Middleton

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