Carlson Wagonlit Travel (CWT) meetings and events division unveiled its predictions for next year’s meetings hot spots.
The rankings are based on data collected in CWT’s 2019 Meetings & Events Future Trends report, which will be released at the end of the month and identifies the 10 top destinations for corporate meetings in North America.
Las Vegas tops the list for next year and is followed by New York City and Orlando, Florida.
New York City
There are three newcomers on the 2019 list: Boston, San Antonio, and Vancouver. Three cities also dropped off the list, including Philadelphia, Phoenix, and Atlanta.
Las Vegas surged to the top of the list, rising from the number 10 spot in 2018 all the way to the number-one spot for 2019.
“Clients are mostly looking at upscale and luxury properties for their events–mirroring the strength of the U.S. economy,” said Tony Wagner, vice president, Americas, CWT Meetings & Events. “If customers can’t get availability, they are switching dates, or looking at a different destination to get the right property.”
The strong economy is also driving up costs. The cost per attendee is expected to rise 1 percent in 2019 to an average of $234. Average group sizes are expected to be approximately 88, rising 14 percent from last year.
Events are also being planned farther in advance. Lead times for events of 100-plus attendees, which require a ballroom and breakout spaces, are now being booked between four to six months in advance. Large-scale events with between 400-500 attendees are being planned as far out as nine months and it is fast becoming the trend to book more than one year out for an event.
Reports show that hotel growth is keeping pace with the demand. An estimated 5,300 properties are currently planned, adding more than 630,000 rooms across the country, and this upward trend of new openings is expected to continue.
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