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CWT Meetings & Events research: Las Vegas tops ranking for North America corporate meetings and events in 2019

September 19, 2018

CWT Meetings & Events, a division of global travel management company Carlson Wagonlit Travel (CWT), today unveiled its predictions for the top ten North American cities. The ranking is based on proprietary and industry data in CWT’s 2019 Meetings & Events Future Trends report, to be published next week.

2019 forecast for top ten North America meetings and events cities (2018/17 positions in brackets):


  1. Las Vegas, US (2018: 10 /2017: 10)
  2. New York City, US (2/1)
  3. Orlando, US (4/9)
  4. Boston, US (-/-)
  5. San Antonio, US (-/-)
  6. Dallas, US (3/-)
  7. Seattle, US (9/-)
  8. San Francisco, US (1/6)
  9. Chicago, US (8/4)
  10. Vancouver, Canada (-/-)

Next year’s ranking sees three new entries: Boston (4) and San Antonio (5), plus Vancouver (10) in Canada. Canada was last featured in the 2017 North American top ten cities with Toronto, then in second place. Cities that have dropped out of next year’s list include Philadelphia (5th in 2018), Phoenix (6), and Atlanta (7).

In the North America marketplace, cost per attendee per day is predicted to rise 1% in 2019, to an average of US$234. Average 2019 group size is projected to increase to 88, up 14% from 2018.

“Clients are mostly looking at upscale and luxury properties for their events – mirroring the strength of the US 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 North America meetings market is likely to continue to be driven by robust economic growth in the United States, with forecasts from the International Monetary Fund putting US growth at 2.7% in 2019, a slight dip on 2018’s expected increase of 2.9%. GDP growth in Canada is expected to come in at 2% in 2019.

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, while events for 400-500 delegates are being planned six to nine months ahead. Booking more than a year in advance is fast becoming the norm for major conferences and conventions.

The US pipeline for new hotels is strong, with an estimated 5,300 properties currently planned, adding more than 630,000 rooms across the country, and this upward trend of new openings is expected to continue. The US$1.5 billion expansion of the Javits Center in Manhattan alone will add 1.2 million square feet of new exhibition and meeting space from 2021.

One major city seeing a hotel capacity squeeze is San Francisco. That will keep prices high there – particularly as the city is already the number one meetings destination in the US this year. 

CWT Meetings & Events

CWT Meetings & Events delivers 38,500 innovative, high-quality projects for customers every year – across all industry sectors, globally. Our creative know-how helps us deliver awe-inspiring events, and our logistics expertise guarantees professional meeting services, group travel, and compliance. We manage your strategic meetings management programs with one aim in mind – to maximize your return on investment.

CWT Meetings & Events is Carlson Wagonlit Travel’s meeting and events division.

Carlson Wagonlit Travel

Companies and governments rely on us to keep their people connected. We provide their travelers with a consumer-grade travel experience, combining innovative technology with our vast experience. Every day, we look after enough travelers to fill more than 260 Boeing 787s and 100,000 hotel rooms - and handle 105 events. We operate in around 150 countries, and in 2017 posted a total transaction volume of more than US$ 23 billion.