The global meetings market usually has several big cities leading the market, like Toronto, London and Las Vegas. But as the costs of setting up events in these cities rise, while space gets more scarce, meeting planners are now turning their attention to alternative options.
Ian Cummings, EMEA VP at CWT Meetings & Events, took note of the emergence of secondary cities. He says that these cities, locations like Manchester, Seville, and the like, are making the most of what infrastructure they have in order to draw in people.
Other experts in the field, like General Manager of Event Travel Management for Corporate Travel Management, Tracey Edwards, says that these secondary cities are working their hardest to attract events businesses, whether they be a corporate event planner in Sydney or an event organizer in London. According to her, these secondary cities understand how important events are to the local economy, and, as a result, they are focused on delivering better results to clients.
She points to several examples, like the collaborative efforts of cities in the US like San Antonia, Denver and St. Louis, as well as the efforts of Aussie cities like Adelaide, Canberra, Hobart and Port Douglas to bring in many a corporate event planner in Sydney and across the country.
Cummings says that there’s financial incentive to looking for alternatives; naturally, cost is a huge driving factor with any business decision. With high-occupancy and high-cost cities like Paris and London, availability can be sparse, while secondary cities can, potentially, offer more for less, like external team-building activities, among others.
Others have urged caution, saying that the savings made by booking a secondary city might be eroded by the transportation costs, limited means of travel, particularly by air, and the necessity of additional stops.
Secondary cities, they say, tend to be more proactive in attracting meetings, as they know they have to work harder to get clients. As a result, they include more value-adds, room packages, cost waivers, and the like, which is good for the bottom line. They’re aware of the fact that they have an uphill battle to fight when it comes to unseating the dominant cities in the market.
On the other end, event organizers opting for lesser-known venues means a bit more risk, which has experts emphasizing the importance of getting research on venues done.