MEETING PLANNERS FAVOR New York, Chicago and Las Vegas in their plans for the next two years, according to STR’s Destination Meeting Assement Program (DestinationMAP) survey. The survey also revealed the planners’ preferences for multiple hotels per booking for large parties, as well as safe, clean destinations that are free of panhandling.
New York led the survey with 23 percent, followed by Chicago at 22 percent and Las Vegas at 20 percent. Following close behind are Orlando and Washington, D.C., both with19 percent.
“All five markets are particularly popular in what we define as the largest meeting size segment (1,000 plus attendees) along with Atlanta, Dallas and Austin,” said Chris Klauda, STR’s senior director, market insights. “New to the list of 42 markets evaluated is Puerto Rico. While not in the list of top destinations, a notable 4 percent of the 1,000 meeting planners surveyed plan to hold a meeting in Puerto Rico in the next two years.”
Louisville, Austin, Denver and Nashville showed the highest year-over-year increase in group hotel demand, according to the survey.
Most survey respondents required more than one hotel for at least one of their events planned in the past 12 months, particularly those in the largest meeting size segment. The planners prioritized safety, cleanliness, value and accessibility as characteristics of their destinations, and four out of 10 ruled out destinations where panhandlers were an issue.
While the surveyed planners were consistent across segments in their preferences, there were some differences. For example, association planners place less emphasis on recreational considerations while the largest meeting size planners placed more emphasis on logistical considerations.
In February, Hilton launched its Signia brand focused on attracting meetings and events, the company said at the time.