Arizona Cities Among Top Meeting Destinations

Published: Friday, September 26, 2014 - 4:50pm
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An online marketplace connecting meeting planners with venues has come out with its list of the 50 top meeting destinations in the U.S., and three Arizona cities made the cut.

The first two aren’t much of a surprise: Phoenix comes in at number eleven and Scottsdale isn’t far behind, at number 16. But then, all the way at the bottom, coming in at number 50, and making its debut on Cvent’s annual list is…Chandler. Kevin Fliess, VP of Products Marketing with Cvent, said that may be the result of spillover from Phoenix and Scottsdale.

"We’ve seen something similar in years past, Henderson, NV and Las Vegas – when Las Vegas has a city-wide conference, often times, you’ll see demand kind of spike in Henderson, NV. And I think what’s going on is there’s so much demand for Phoenix and Scottsdale that it’s starting to have an impact on the surrounding region," Fliess said.

Fliess said Cvent came to its rankings by looking at data from its supplier network – looking at factors like web traffic for destinations, and the number of requests for proposals they got. The numbers are from the 12 months ending in June.

Jane Poston with the City of Chandler said she’s not necessary surprised her city made the list – she said Chandler’s been working hard on this.

"We are laser-focused on jobs, which has that effect of bringing in those business travelers, and creating those meetings and doing some different things," Poston said. "We have had quite a few large businesses opening, and we’re hearing from the hotels that a lot of those businesses are beginning to use their facilities quite a bit."

And, Poston said, Chandler serves a unique market, since there are a bunch of tech companies working there. But, she doesn’t discount the spillover effect, either.

"We don’t have that large conference center that some of those larger cities have. We have that great freeway access, though, we’re centrally located. So we are a great location for those people that can’t quite go to Phoenix or can’t fit in," she said.

Both Phoenix and Scottsdale’s rankings were right around where they were last year. And Visit Phoenix reports the Phoenix Convention Center produced its third highest delegate count during the most recent fiscal year – the more than 232,000 visitors will be coming to town over the next few years.

Fliess said Phoenix’s investment in infrastructure – including the expanded convention center and light rail – have kept the city near the top ten destinations nationwide. But he said there’s another, predictable, factor, as well.

"If you’re planning an event in the middle of winter, your options are more limited than they are in the spring and the fall," Fliess said. "So, if you’re planning something in the winter months, obviously San Diego and Phoenix and Scottsdale become extremely interesting. And I think the location, the weather and what those destinations have to offer in terms of outside amenities continues to keep them in the running."

Fliess said other Valley cities could also start to benefit from Phoenix’s success. Poston said Chandler and its neighbors have been well served by working together. But she’s hopeful Chandler will continue to host more meetings in the years ahead.

"I think that’s something we would definitely like to see. I don’t know if we have that plan on the books today, but certainly as we grow in our meeting space and as that becomes more important in our business community and more of a focus for us, that’s certainly something that we’ll be looking at," she said.

Poston says that would continue to benefit the city’s bottom line.

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